CDA Humanitarian Award

Dec. 19, 2011
Terry T. Tanaka, DDS, honored for decades of humanitarian work.

SACRAMENTO, California—Terry T. Tanaka, DDS, was awarded the 2011 California Dental Association Foundation Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Tanaka was honored for his dedication to providing dental care to underserved populations for more than three decades. His humanitarian contributions date back to 1979 when he began work with field surgical clinics in Mexicali, La Paz, and Guaymas.

Dr. Tanaka, who is a practicing dentist in Chula Vista, Calif., was the driving force behind organizing teams that traveled to Mexico to treat cleft lip and cleft palate children. With active fundraising, Dr. Tanaka and his Rotarian group established the Thousand Smiles Foundation and created a permanent, two-story clinic in Ensenada, Mexico. The clinic is used for restorative, prosthetic, and orthodontic dental treatment, as well as speech therapy and hearing testing.

“Dr. Tanaka serves as an inspiration to dentistry and exemplifies a selfless dedication to our profession,” said Donald Rollofson, DMD, chair of the CDA Foundation.

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The project has had an impact, benefitting thousands of children by providing medical treatment without cost to patients with maxillofacial deformities who would otherwise go untreated. Dr. Tanaka has changed the lives of many who now live free from dental pain and the stigma of facial deformity.

Dr. Tanaka has contributed significantly to help alleviate human suffering and improve the oral health and quality of life of those served.

The Humanitarian Award was established in 2008 by the CDA Foundation to honor California dentists who have distinguished themselves through selfless leadership and contributions to humanity in the field of dentistry.

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