Dentist honored by YWCA for contributions to racial equality

As associate professor and director of predoctoral dental public health for the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Linda Kaste has devoted her career to the oral health needs of underserved populations.

The YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago Board of Directors is proud to announce Dr. Linda M. Kaste as the recipient of the 2004 Leader Luncheon Racial Justice Award. Kaste will be presented with her award at the YWCA Leader Luncheon, one of the area's most prestigious salutes to outstanding women and the YWCA's largest annual fundraiser. The luncheon will be held on October 14th at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

As associate professor and director of predoctoral dental public health for the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Kaste has devoted her career to the oral health needs of underserved populations. Her leadership was instrumental in obtaining a $1.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the College. The grant will help prepare a competent oral healthcare workforce committed to treating the special needs, minority and lower income populations with limited access to dental care. The grant will also be used to promote diversity in the dental workforce by increasing minority recruitment and enrollment among students, staff and faculty of the College of Dentistry.

Before joining the University of Illinois at Chicago, Kaste had considerable experience working for social justice in oral health. While at the Medical University of South Carolina she started a program to train dental students to work effectively with low-income and minority groups. She has served as a volunteer dentist in the Dominican Republic for 17 years. She worked with the Boston Health Link Homeless Shelters in providing dental services and promoted oral health among Native American populations as a consultant for the Indian Health Service in Arizona. Kaste has authored more than 100 papers, abstracts and presentations on topics related to access to dental care and oral health status.

Kaste received her certification in dental public health from Harvard University and is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Heath, one of only three diplomates in Illinois. She is a member of the American Dental Association, American Public Health Association, Hispanic Dental Association and American Association of Public Health Dentistry where she currently serves as chair of its education and science committee.

Kaste has received numerous honors for her research and community efforts, including the American Association of Public Health Dentistry President's Special Recognition Award in 1999, an American Dental Association Certificate of Recognition in 1996 and the National Institutes of Health Special Service Award in 1993.

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