NYDHA Awards for Dental Hygiene Excellence

Light One Candle2016 Awards

The 2016 awards will be presented at the Empire Conference-President's Dinner on November 5 in Binghamton,. Shine a spotlight on the extraordinary work of RDHs - nominate a colleague who goes the extra mile.

Click here for the criteria and nomination forms to learn more about the awards..Nominations due September 9.

2014 Awards

Robin GrassoExtraordinary Volunteerism to Advance the Mission of NYDHA

Robin Grasso of the 2nd District (Westchester) – selected by the Board to receive this special award for her consistent above-and-beyond leadership and service, at every opportunity, as an ambassador for NYDHA and the dental hygiene profession. Nominators noted, "Most of all Robin will be known for her of contagious volunteerism in promoting access to and the delivery of quality preventive and therapeutic oral health care to the underserved.

Outstanding Mentoring - To a dental hygienist who has advanced the profession of dental hygiene through outstanding activities as a mentor

Mary B. Brennan (New York City) was honored for provided counseling, advice and encouragement to many students and alumni over the years


Johanna RootOutstanding Contributions in the Community
Johanna Root (Upper Hudson) was cited for her volunteer work to increase awareness of oral healthcare for children and parents, including her preparation and representation of DHASNY at a state YMCA kids health advocacy program. The program participation led to additional requests statewide for educational information and dental hygiene speakers.
Volunteerism at the Local Level - To a dental hygienist who has made outstanding contributions to dental hygiene by volunteerism at the component level

Donna LauricellaDonna Lauricella
(Rochester/Finger Lakes) was honored for her leadership in developing professional and community activities, acting as a catalyst attracting involvement of colleagues. (pictured at right)
Nancy Barnes (New York City ) was recognized for her work in the development of continuing education, which has promoted and guided many dental hygienists and encouraged professional association involvement.
Monique Leanza (Westchester) was cited for her dedication to the practice of dental hygiene, treating the under-served population and volunteering within her community. Her volunteerism includes participating in events where she provides dental hygiene care and education for the under-served populations.
Johanna Root (Upper Hudson) was recognized for her leadership, perpetuation of and involvement in volunteer activities including preparation and distribution of 2,000 infant oral health kits and increasing the component's participation in community activities, such as Special Olympics. Her colleagues tell us that her "positive, happy, enthusiastic personality is infectious and has made working with her at all levels a pleasure."
Lisa DeLuciaAdvancing the Profession of Dental Hygiene – To those outside the profession of dental hygiene who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the profession of dental hygiene

Jill WarnerLisa DeLucia, DDS
of Rochester – honored for her work with the intellectual disabled population, which has educated and involved dental hygienists in serving persons with disabilities. Nominators said "Dr. DeLucia opens her heart to other health care providers" who in turn find the rewards" of joining her in providing this oral health care. (pictured far (right)

Jill Warner, also of Rochester - recognized for giving of her time and efforts in community activities involving dental hygienists that promote oral health education and oral health services. Nominators note, "She never hesitates to ask "s there anything else I can help with?'" (pictured near right)

2013 Awards
Outstanding Mentoring - To a dental hygienist who has advanced the profession of dental hygiene through outstanding activities as a mentor

Susan Burzynski of Buffalo was cited as a "great counselor" whose door is always open to provide guidance for milestone events and small scenarios. Said Buffalo component President Jason Keem, "I often think about the words of wisdom she relayed to me about one of the most important lessons you learn as President, and that is to persevere, no matter what. I have taken those words to heart, and they carried me all the way to today, and beyond. I also share them with others whenever I have a chance. Because it occurs to me, that the highest form of honor we may pay to our mentors is to pass on to others the wisdom they so freely gave to us."

Linda Runge from Central NY component was honored for her encourages all hygienists she meets to be involved in their professional association, to keep learning and to provide the best of care to patients. She also has provided guidance and inspired others in advancing the work of the Central New York component. Her nominators commented that her solid belief in dental hygiene and moving it forward –serve to inspire and have lasting effects on others.

Volunteerism at the Local Level - To a dental hygienist who has made outstanding contributions to dental hygiene by volunteerism at the component level

Robin Murphy of Rochester/Finger Lakes area received plaudits as a "strong thread" of the component and its volunteerism efforts. She is known for quietly volunteering for jobs that need to be done further the dental hygienists' association mission. In addition to her own volunteering, she has been a sparkplug in the organization's public service work with Special Olympics, Women's Health Fair and other activities. Her colleagues observed that she "lives and leads by example of 'paying it forward' to our professional organization and to the community we serve."

Michelle Paeprer of Westchester is described by colleagues as a passionate and dedicated volunteer. Throughout the year, she gives of her time working with children and adults with special needs, volunteering at numerous community events, such as Special Olympics Special Smiles, Dentistry from the Heart, and Health Fairs. At the same time, she is a committed volunteer in component projects, including the student award program. Nominators observed that "whether volunteering within the community or our component, Michelle promotes and represents the profession of dental hygiene with integrity and passion."

Advancing the Profession of Dental Hygiene – To those outside the profession of dental hygiene who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the profession of dental hygiene

Victor Sternberg, DMD, a periodontist practicing in Briarcliff Manor, was honored as an advocate for the dental hygiene profession. As his nominators, observed, "Committing his career to saving teeth, he has always known that high quality dental hygiene care is essential to achieve that goal. Dental hygienists and patients over 30-plus years greatly appreciate his dedication and wisdom."
2012 Awards
Life Membership - To a dental hygienist who has made above-and-beyond contributions to the dental hygiene profession, oral health and NYDHA

The NYDHA House of Delegates presented the Life Membership Award to Lucy Bianco fom Binghamton and Binghamton/Southern Tier component. She is program director of Lourdes Hopital Oral Health Canter and a past president of the Association. For more than 20 years, she has shared her professional knowledge and talents with her community, organization, and colleagues to aid in improving the oral health status of New Yorkers and advancing the profession. She has been a catalyst of initiatives in her region for projects that have increased oral health care for the most vulneral and underserved populations, including mobile dental clinics, family and child outreach for oral health education and service, and fluoride and sealant programs. She has frequently represented NYDHA in statewide health summits and task forces, such as the New York State Oral Health Coalition workforce and access committees and the New York State Health Department's Task Force on Special Needs Dentistry and Priority Committee on Promoting Healthy Women, Infants and Children - part of the 2013-2017 state health improvement plan/prevention agenda.

Outstanding Activities as a Mentor - To a dental hygienist who has advanced the profession of dental hygiene through outstanding activities as a mentor

Look up mentor in the dictionary and click on synonyms and guess what? Millie Thaw's name pops up! Millie is from Deer Park and a member of the New York City component. Her nominator said this: "The word mentor and mensch describe her perfectly! Mentor, as we know means someone who is an experienced and a trusted advisor. The Jewish word, mensch, means a person of integrity and honor." We know her for her extensive work in developing and presenting CE programs in the area, the state and nationally, including her Getting Unstuck career development program. She served as DHASNY's Vice President of Professional Development, among activities. Many know her, as well, for her willingness to share her time and knowledge on a one on one basis, whether showing newcomers how to make the most of a conference and making introduction to people they should meet, to sharing advice on challenging patient cases, to providing support to colleagues experiencing challenges in careers and personal life. As her nomination concluded: "She is a person of integrity, someone who does the right thing by helping those in need."

Volunteerism at the Local Level – To a dental hygienist who has made outstanding contributions to dental hygiene by volunteerism at the component level

Beverly Dyckman is from Peekskill in the Westchester component. She is both the WDHA's historian and active volunteer, providing a rich history of the path we've traveled and enthusiastic about our future. Her work in promoting membership and our professional and public education programs is an invaluable ambassador to the component. She lights up with enthusiasm as she speaks about our career day and profession. As the nomination stated, "Her diligence and passion toward her career is apparent. Her dedication to the board is constant. She brings years of wisdom to our profession; she motivates others to volunteer, always emphasizing the importance of volunteering."

Multi-tasking and volunteering are wonderful hallmarks of dental hygienists. Kelly ElDib of Lake George in the Upper Hudson component consistently demonstrates these attributes. Her component colleagues told us: "Although the position of Treasurer often requires countless volunteer hours, along with having a family and working, she is always one of our first members to volunteer to help with additional activities that have the goal of educating the people in our local communities and/or members of the UHDHA…. She is a fantastic role model for us all; she sets the bar high, and shows us the impact one person can have in their community." And she's fun to work with!

We wonder if Vicki Guerra of Rome in the Mohawk Valley component has found the way to clone herself. You'll find her at senior centers, elementary schools, health fairs, HeadStart, and WIC programs volunteering to promote oral health awareness. She's also active in planning continuing education programs and promoting membership among dental hygienists and also visiting with students to tell them about the importance of being part of their professional association.

Katie Mitchell of Bloomfield in the Rochester/Finger Lakes component is an example of a student moving to active membership upon graduation. Her colleagues describe her as an "inspiration" and a "steadfast rock" to their association. Shortly after her transition from student to Rochester / Finger Lakes membership, she started to attend all board meetings, volunteering for Study Club registration and was elected as component secretary. She never says no in volunteering where needed. Katie, her nominators told us, "deserves special recognition, because she has continued to 'pay it forward' to the association."

Advancing the Profession of Dental Hygiene – To those outside the profession of dental hygiene who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the profession of dental hygiene

James Stewart is branch manager for Patterson Dental Supply in the Rochester area community of Victor. Hiss nominator describes him as "true advocate for the dental hygiene profession." She recalls receiving call a number of years ago from Jim to discussion ways to promote dental hygiene education programs. That call led to a partnership in promoting and supporting dental hygiene in the profession and public in the Seventh District and the state.

Thomas Viola is a pharmacist and educator, serving on the faculty of several dental hygiene schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He also is a passionate continuing education presenter for hygienists, generously giving of his time and knowledge after the courses to answer e-mail questions. He says he experienced revitalization in his profession as a result of teaching dental hygienists. It is a joy to hear him lecture and his observations of the human condition and ability to explain difficult drug /pharmacological issues are amazing. He motivates his students and attendees to learn more and inspires them in their work with patients.