Westboro, MA – The DentaQuest Institute today announced that Executive Director of Safety Net Solutions Mark J. Doherty, DMD, MPH, CCHP, is this year’s recipient of the American Association for Community Dental Programs (AACDP) John P. Rossetti Community Oral Health Impact Award. This award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding service, commitment, and leadership to improve oral health, especially to the underserved.
“I’m thrilled, honored and humbled to be recognized by the AACDP with this year’s John P. Rossetti award. Dr. Rossetti was a legend in the world of community oral health,” said Doherty. “John was a mentor, coach and guide. I was very fortunate to not only know him but to have him take me under his wing and teach me how to better navigate the oral health system. I miss John every day, as we all do, and it’s an honor to be in his company.”
Doherty has been working to improve the oral health of vulnerable populations since beginning his career as dental director of Dorchester House, a community health center in Boston, MA, in 1979. He was instrumental in the creation of the Taunton Oral Health Center, and as CEO and Chief Dental Officer of Commonwealth Mobile Oral Health Services, worked tirelessly to ensure comprehensive oral health care for children in state custody and public schools in low-income areas.
“Mark has spent his entire career dedicated to improving oral health for underserved and disadvantaged populations,” said Steven Geiermann, DDS, Senior Manager of the Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention at the American Dental Association. Noting Doherty’s advocacy for private practitioners to assist with the urgent demand for care exceeding the capacity of the safety net system, Geiermann added, “Dr. Doherty embodies the public/private collaboration that John Rossetti believed so strongly in.”
“I’ve met many people during my 39 years in the dental profession, but few I have admired as much,” said Mark Koday, DDS, Chief Dental Officer at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic in Yakima, WA. “Mark not only has the knowledge and leadership skill sets that community health needs, but he has the drive and energy to accomplish his goals.”
In his current role as Executive Director of Safety Net Solutions, Doherty has grown the program to be a nationally recognized leader in the field of safety net dental practice technical assistance. His expertise has helped to improve patient access, clinical quality and financial viability for more than 500 safety net dental programs in 42 states. His latest initiative, Safety Net University, is being developed to expand the scope and reach of safety net dental practice management training to better enable and support dental leaders to maximize the success of their programs, as well as better prepare dental students to practice in safety net settings.
AACDP presented the award at their annual symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 23.