Assn. for Dental Safety Names 2024 Leadership Awards Recipients


ADS, formerly known as OSAP, announces this year’s honorees at the organization’s annual conference in Tucson, Arizona.

Assn. for Dental Safety Names 2024 Leadership Awards Recipients | Image Credit: © Association for Dental Safety

Assn. for Dental Safety Names 2024 Leadership Awards Recipients | Image Credit: © Association for Dental Safety

Another group of deserving recipients were recently recognized by the Association for Dental Safety (ADS) for great leadership and service.

ADS, formerly known as OSAP, announced the recipients of the 2024 Leadership Awards and the Awards were presented during the 2024 Annual Conference on May 31 in Tucson, Arizona.

"Every year, the Leadership Awards celebrate individuals who have made exceptional contributions to dental infection prevention and safety," Michelle Lee, executive director of ADS, states in a press release. "ADS also takes pride in its dedicated volunteer community. Besides the member-nominated and board-selected awards, the ADS chair provides special recognition to a select group of volunteers who have surpassed expectations in advancing our organization's mission."

The following awards and honorees were presented recently at the annual conference:

Dr. James J. Crawford Award: Presented to Lois Cohen, PhD

This award, named in honor of one of the founders of dental infection control, recognizes lifetime achievement in the field. Awardees have made major contributions in science, education, or public policy related to ADS’ core competencies of infection control and patient and provider safety.

Dr Cohen began her career with a PhD in sociology, joining what is now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1964. As a social scientist, she became part of a small team that gave rise to the field of social and behavioral science research in dentistry.

Dr Cohen retired in 2006 after serving as Associate Director for International Health and previously as director of the Division of Extramural Research within the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). She is currently the Paul G. Rogers Ambassador for Global Health Research, a consultant to NIDCR, and advisor to several U.S. and international institutions and organizations focused on global oral health, including the World Health Organization.

Throughout her career, Dr Cohen coordinated and facilitated all intramural and extramural international research activities, as well as staff involvement in multi-lateral, bilateral and organizational representation abroad. She served as the Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Dental & Craniofacial Research. She co-directed the first large-scale international collaborative studies of oral health systems with the late David E. Barmes, DDS, and co-chaired the Friends of ADS (formed in 2006) with Nancy Tomich Zapp.

"As a sociologist whose research and publications in oral health science has spanned 60 years, Lois Cohen's work has been central to linking behavioral and social sciences with issues of public health significance nationally and internationally," adds Lee. "Dr. Lois Cohen is indeed worthy of the James Crawford Award."

Dr. Milton Schaefer Award: Presented to Matthew R. Ellis, MPH, CIC, CDIPC, REHS/RS

This award is named after one of the founding members of ADS and celebrates superior service to the organization, recognizing either continuous contributions over a period or singular accomplishments. The nominee’s efforts have resulted in tangible benefits to the continuing advancement of ADS’ mission to be the leading provider of infection prevention and control education, training, and credentialing that supports safe dental visits.

This year’s Schaefer Award was presented to Commander Ellis, who currently serves within the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service’s Office of Clinical Support, where he serves as the Infection Prevention and Patient Safety Consultant to the Area. He is a member of the Bemidji Area regional Executive Leadership Team and Quality Assurance Risk Management Committee and was recently appointed to the IHS National Quality Council.

Commander Ellis served admirably as the IPC Coordinator for the IHS Office of the Director within the Office of Quality/Division of Patient Safety and Clinical Risk Management. He was the IHS Portland Area Institutional Environmental Health Officer where he was an architect and Co-Lead of the regional healthcare accreditation readiness team and served collaterally as the Public Health Emergency Management Coordinator. He provided infection control support and led multiple infection prevention capacity-building efforts and initiatives across the Tribal healthcare delivery landscape.

Commander Ellis is Board Certified in Infection Prevention and Control, a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, and an OSHA General Industry Trainer. He is a US Army veteran and has completed infection control and safety position tenures within private healthcare consulting firms, the University of Kentucky Medical Center, and the Veteran’s Healthcare Administration. He currently serves on the ADS Board of Directors.

Emerging Infection Control Leader Award: Presented to Sarah Stream, MPH, CDIPC, CDA, FADAA

The goal of the Emerging Leader Award is to help develop and promote the next generation of stars in the field of dental infection prevention and safety by identifying outstanding new infection control advocates, according to the association. ADS named Stream as the 2024 Emerging Infection Control Leader Award recipient.

Stream is a seasoned dental infection control specialist with a profound commitment to enhancing public health within the realm of dentistry. Armed with a Master of Public Health degree and being Certified in Dental Infection Prevention and Control and as a Certified Dental Assistant, she brings a wealth of expertise to those who she serves.

With a career spanning 17 years, Stream is passionate about promoting infection control protocols and compliance measures within dental settings. She leverages her expertise to educate fellow practitioners on the importance of prioritizing compliance and utilizing public health concepts to encourage the safest dental visit.

Bette & Paul Schwartz Award for Volunteerism: Presented to Sarah Stream, MPH, CDIPC, CDA, FADAA

This award is named in honor of a couple who personify the spirit of volunteerism for the organization, Bette and Paul Schwartz, a dynamic duo who, for many years, selflessly contributed their time and resources to manage all the volunteer activities associated with ADS’ Annual Conference. The award is given to identify and thank an outstanding volunteer, a nearly impossible selection, the ADS says, given the generous support of its community.

This year's award was presented to Stream for her tireless efforts to support ADS.

Chair Citation Awards

Steven Geiermann, DDS, FACD, FICD, 2023 – 2024 ADS Chair of the Board, presented special citations to individuals who have enriched the organization by contributing a unique blend of talents, skills, hard work, and unwavering commitment to the advancement of dental safety.

Dr Geiermann awarded 3 dental professionals: Alyssa Aberle, RDH, MBA, CDIPC, FADHA; Kimberly Grensavitch, MJ, BA, RDH; and Michelle Strange, MSDH, RDH, CDIPC, for committing themselves to a special project funded by the CDC Division of Oral Health to help develop and disseminate a tool kit, including action steps and corresponding resources, on the importance of oral hygiene in hospital settings for the prevention of non-ventilator acquired pneumonia.

Dr Geiermann also awarded Nancy Dewhirst, BSDH, RDH, Editor-in-Chief of ADS' Infection Control in Practice publication. Under Dewhirst's capable leadership, this bi-monthly publication more than doubled in size. Her editorial theme this year reflects the Board's strategic plan initiative in promoting a Culture of Safety in Dentistry.

Shannon Mills, DDS, also received a Citation Award for envisioning last year's successful Mock Trial, which focused on dental unit waterline safety. It was so well received that ADS was invited to take it on the road, where it was recently presented at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists’ annual conference in Toronto.

Finally, Dr Geiermann presented special Citation Awards to ADS Executive Director Michelle Lee, CPC, and ADS Chief Engagement and Development Officer Andy Whitehead for their guidance throughout his year as chair. He highlighted their courage to be leaders willing to take risks and do whatever is needed to make the world a better place.

Dr. James A. Cottone Award for Excellence in Investigative Research: Presented to Shane Castro, RDH, CDIPC, JM

This award is named for one of the founders of ADS, who exemplified the best in infection control and safety research. This year’s award goes to Castro for the poster presentation titled, Revolutionizing Instrument Management: Harnessing RFID Technology in Dental Education. The co-author of the poster is Matthew Nielsen.

Founded in 1984, ADS, formerly known as OSAP, is the only dental membership association for oral health care professionals that focuses exclusively on dental infection prevention and patient and provider safety.

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