Dental educator receives ADA Distinguished Service Award

Oct. 10, 2009
ADA bestows highest honor on Kenneth L. Kalkwarf, DDS, at 150th annual session.

HONOLULU, Hawaii--The American Dental Association has honored Kenneth L. Kalkwarf, DDS, with the 2009 Distinguished Service Award at its 150h Annual Session and World Marketplace Exhibition in Honolulu.

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor the ADA bestows upon an individual.

ADA President John S. Findley, DDS, presented the award to Dr. Kalkwarf during the first meeting of the ADA House of Delegates at the session.

Dr. Kalkwarf, dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School and past president of the American Dental Education Association, is being lauded as a leader and consensus builder whose contributions have brought diverse communities together for the betterment of the entire profession.

"Dr. Kalkwarf has touched so many groups in our profession and been a link between the educational community and the profession, and young dentists and more established members. It's his collaborative spirit that really shines through," said Dr. Findley.

"In addition, while actively supporting the profession and the ADA on a national scale, he has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to working with the local dental community to further their efforts in promoting oral health for San Antonio and South Texas."

Some of his ADA leadership roles include chair of the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (1998-99), chair of the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation (2003-04), member of the oversight committee that developed the report on the Future of Dentistry (2000-01), and member of the Task Force on the Commission on Dental Accreditation (2007-08). He was president of ADEA in 2006-07.

"I'm so pleased that the ADA has chosen to recognize an educator. It's one of the strong points of the ADA," stated Dr. Kalkwarf.

"Though most members are private practicing general dentists, the association works hard to open doors to specialists, dentists serving in the uniformed services, individuals who work in community clinics, educators and dental researchers. That openness has encouraged many conversations under the umbrella of the ADA and it has been a very positive attribute."

Dr. Kalkwarf was founding chair for ADEA's Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education that formed in 2005 to investigate systemic change to advance and sustain curricular reform.

CCI, he said, created a forum for those interested in dental education and future members "to create better ways of assuring that graduates, and eventually all dentists, are lifelong learners providing evidence-based care to meet society's needs."

After receiving his dental degree from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln) College of Dentistry in 1970, Dr. Kalkwarf completed a general practice residency at Marquette University and Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee in 1971. He returned to the University of Nebraska, earning a certificate in periodontology and a master's degree in oral biology in 1973.

After positions at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry and again at Nebraska, he accepted an appointment as associate dean for advanced education at UTHSC School of Dentistry in San Antonio. In 1988, he became the San Antonio dental school's fifth dean.

Dr. Kalkwarf has held membership and leadership positions in many professional organizations. They include the ADEA Council of Deans, International College of Dentists, Academy of General Dentistry, Hispanic Dental Association, Western and Southern Conferences of Dental School Deans and Examiners, Nebraska State Board of Dental Examiners, Texas Association of Advisors to the Health Professions, Texas Dental Association, Nebraska State Dental Association, Omicron Kappa Upsilon (president, Supreme Chapter), American Association of Dental Examiners, American College of Dentists (board of regents, the International Association for Dental Research, Gies Foundation Board of Directors, and recipient partner division chair of the ADA, Our Legacy--Our Future campaign.

Dr. Kalkwarf is married and the father of two sons.

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