The Board of Trustees awarded honorary ADA memberships to four individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the art and science of dentistry.
In May, Fred Leviton, president and CEO of Dental Lifeline Network; Stephen O’Loughlin, ADA ambassador; Jerry Bowman, ADA chief of governance and strategy management; and Richard Stevens, executive director of the West Virginia Dental Association; were approved by the Board of Trustees for honorary membership in the Association.
Honorary membership can be awarded to dentists who are not eligible for active, life or retired membership in the Association or to individuals from outside the dental profession. Current tripartite employees who have at least 20 years of service and have made outstanding contributions above and beyond expectations to the profession are eligible for nomination at a time that coincides with their retirement.
Mr. Leviton will retire at the end of 2021 after spending 45years with Dental Lifeline Network, which provides free, comprehensive dental treatment to people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically fragile through its Donated Dental Services program.
Mr. Leviton said that the network’s signature program will celebrate a milestone later this year along with the 15,000 dentists and 3,500 volunteer laboratories that volunteer.
“Since we launched the first Donated Dental Services program in1985, the organization — through thousands of amazing volunteer dentists and labs — will exceed $500 million in treatment,” he said. “That’s half a billion dollars’ worth of essential care for 175,000 people with special needs.”
As for retirement, Mr. Leviton decided, simply, that it was time. He thought about ending his tenure last year but perished at the thought that his successor would face a “hornet’s nest” due to the challenges of the pandemic.
“This honorary membership recognizing my service is so humbling, and I so appreciate the friendship of so many dental leaders for whom I have the utmost respect,” Mr. Leviton said.
Frank Maggio, D.D.S., a former ADA trustee, lauded Mr. Leviton in his nomination letter and praised the many ADA members that are part of the network.
“As you can see from what Dental Lifeline Network has done, there is little doubt that Fred’s commitment to care for folks in need is amazing,” Dr. Maggio said. “He has been able to bring many different groups in our profession to join forces to accomplish much for many. At the end of the day I can’t think of one more deserving of honorary membership in the ADA than Fred J. Leviton.”
Mr. O’Loughlin, a retired mechanical engineer, has served as an ambassador for the ADA to leaders and their families during the 12-year tenure of his wife, ADA Executive Director Kathleen O’Loughlin, D.M.D. She will retire later this year.
By participating in many of the board activities and being a welcoming, constant presence for trustees and their spouses as they cycled on and off the Board, Mr. O’Loughlin has publicly supported the Association in all its endeavors, from advocacy to the Alliance of the ADA, said Judith M. Fisch, D.D.S., former ADA trustee in her nomination letter.
Mr. O’Loughlin was modest when asked about the honor.
“I tried not to embarrass anyone,” he joked about his role.
G. Lewis (Lew) Mitchell, Jr., D.M.D., past ADA vice president, said in his nomination letter that Mr. O’Loughlin’s commitment to the ADA ran deep and was worth recognizing, emblematic of the support that family members provide dentists.
“Spouses of the members of the ADA Board of Trustees contribute so very much to the work and accomplishments of an ADA board,” Dr. Mitchell said. “Their role is that of selfless servants who [from] behind the scenes support and accompany their spouses. Mr. Steve O'Loughlin is the perfect role model and example of spousal support. Whereas most ADA spouses selflessly serve in this role for four years, Steve has been ever-present for our ADA executive director for 12 years.”
Mr. O’Loughlin said he and his wife are planning on moving to Maine when she officially retires, as well as taking a pandemic-postponed trip to Europe with friends next year.
Richard D. Stevens
Mr. Stevens is in his 47th and final year as executive director of the West Virginia Dental Association, and honorary membership is the latest accolade bestowed on him.
“I was very pleasantly surprised and humbled,” said Mr. Stevens, who turns 79 in November. “The ADA has meant a great deal to me over the years.”
As executive director, chief lobbyist, operations officer, continuing education leader and lecturer, recruiter and mentor, Mr. Stevens has been the only executive director many dentists in West Virginia have ever known. He, along with the 47 association presidents he has served, has long been the face of the organization.
The West Virginia University School of Dentistry Alumni Association bestowed Mr. Stevens the Award of Commendation for his outstanding contributions to dentistry, dental education and his numerous accomplishments in the state in 1998. He was elected an honorary fellow in the International College of Dentists in recognition of distinguished achievements and contributions to the dental profession and in appreciation of outstanding services rendered to the cause of oral science, and is an honorary member of West Virginia University’s Alpha Beta chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society.
David Whiston, D.D.S., former ADA and ADA Foundation president, wrote in his nomination letter that Mr. Stevens’ greatest contributions to the profession and the public are driven by his extensive mentoring activities.
“He has been respected and consistently recognized for these activities in his state capital, and at every level of organized dentistry,” Dr. Whiston wrote. “And, as he's been officially celebrated over the years, he's also remembered for kindly and quietly supporting and encouraging those interacting with him along the way.”
Mr. Bowman will step down from his role as ADA chief of governance and strategy management in August after joining the Association in 2003.
Being worthy of honorary membership is something that he treasures, Mr. Bowman said.
“I certainly appreciate the trust the Board of Trustees has put in me,” he said.
Mr. Bowman’s current work focuses on the operations of the Board of Trustees and the House of Delegates, in addition to special assignments.
Prior to that position, Mr. Bowman was public affairs counsel within the ADA Department of State Government Affairs, where his work focused on the state public affairs program as well as regulatory matters. Previously, Mr. Bowman was associate general counsel in the ADA’s Division of Legal Affairs and counsel to the divisions of scientific affairs and government affairs as well as the ADA Council on Dental Practice.
Before joining the ADA, Mr. Bowman was a partner in a large Chicago law firm.
Cesar Sabates, D.D.S., ADA president-elect, wrote in his nomination letter than he has known Mr. Bowman for six years.
“I was told before coming onto the board, if you want to know how to successfully move a resolution from beginning to end, reach out to Jerry Bowman,” Dr. Sabates said.
Dr. Daniel Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D, ADA president, echoed Dr. Sabates’ praise.
“Mr. Bowman has been an integral part of what has made the ADA so effective,” Dr. Klemmedson said. “He understands the needs for process in a complex organization but has recognized and also enabled the unique culture of a member-driven organization to flourish.”