AIDPH Celebrates Excellence in Oral Health Advocacy at Inaugural Awards Ceremony

Honorees Recognized for Commitment to Oral Health Justice, Equity, and Inclusion

The American Institute of Dental Public Health (AIDPH) is proud to honor six individuals and organizations for their outstanding accomplishments in advancing justice, equity and inclusion.

The awards ceremony will take place at Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel on March 26, 2024 as part of the organization’s seventh Annual Colloquium, an innovative oral health event with presentations, panel discussions, and roundtables around research approaches that engage impacted communities.

“Access to oral healthcare is challenging for people who come from historically marginalized communities due to cost barriers and a lack of culturally affirming care,” said Annaliese Cothron, Executive Director of AIDPH. “Honoring our community’s work and innovation broadens visibility of oral health needs and the everyday champions who find solutions. Oral health must be part of discussions about holistic, integrated approaches that consider social, political, and physical determinants of health.”

AIDPH’s award winners:

Community Champion Award — Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation:

The Foundation is acknowledged for investing over $50 million toward serving Coloradoan communities over two decades, focusing on early childhood and maternal health care initiatives and the expansion of dental hygiene programs, and its work engaging community stakeholders through its Early Childhood Oral Health Equity Roadmap. 

Community Champion Honorable Mention — University of Florida College of Dentistry Outreach Program:

This program is honored for providing preventive dental care to over 57,000 children and offering cost-free dental services to rural migrants in Collier County since 2013.

Equity Trailblazer Student Research Award — Bree Zhang, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine:

Bree Zhang is recognized for her commitment to improving oral health awareness, which includes research on the implications of bottle feeding positioning on pediatric oral health.

Equity Trailblazer Honorable Mentions — Lexi Dunnels and Anushree Tiwari:

Lexi Dunnels (University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine) is honored for research on using therapy dogs to alleviate dental anxiety for veterans. Anushree Tiwari, a Dental Public Health Resident at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is recognized for research into oral health disparities among disabled U.S. adults and contributions to underserved communities in India.

Visionary Leadership Award — Mana Mozaffarian, DMD:

Dr. Mozaffarian is commended for her extensive career in shaping oral health policy linking oral healthcare access and outcomes with mental health and substance use disorders, and contributing to dental student mentorship and leadership.

About The American Institute of Dental Public Health

AIDPH is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to transforming dental public health practices through science, education, and advocacy. Serving as a catalyst for change, AIDPH advocates for a justice-oriented oral health system that prioritizes equity and inclusivity. AIDPH empowers communities to advance oral health through collaboration, connection, and community. To learn more, visit and follow them on LinkedInFacebook, and Instagram.


Source: The American Institute of Dental Public Health

About The American Institute of Dental Public Health

AIDPH is a 501c3 nonprofit centering health equity as a cornerstone of oral health education and training. AIDPH fosters professional excellence and advancing innovation in the education and practice of dental public health.

The American Institute of Dental Public Health
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