September 2021 Volume LVI Number 5


AAPD Resident Recognition Awards

July 2019 Volume LIV Number 4

 The AAPD Pediatric Dental Resident Committee developed the Resident Recognition Award to recognize pediatric dental residents doing innovative and interesting activities in their training programs. Selected residents are awarded with a monetary prize, featured on the AAPD website, featured in Pediatric Dentistry Today (PDT), and recognized at the awards ceremony during the annual AAPD meeting.
Winners are chosen based on activities during residency that contribute to one or more of the following fields: patient care, education (i.e., teaching), research, and community service. Innovation, time commitment, and significance of service to others are the primary factors consid- ered in the selection process.
Dr. Elizabeth Klein
St. Barnabas Hospital Graduation: 2019 Patient Care
Dr. Klein, Beth as we know her, completed her GPR at St. Barnabas Hospital in 2008. She then carved out an amazing career as a general practitioner in Florida, but her desire for pediatrics led her back to applying and matriculating in to the class of 2019. The decision to relocate back to New York was not an easy one, as her son Zach was just a baby, while her husband Maayan had a thriving endodontic practice. Pediatric dentistry was her passion, and she was determined to be a specialist. Her supportive husband sold his practice to move with Beth and Zach to New York, and ensure that Beth could focus on her duties as a resident. And focus Beth has. Klein’s dedication to the children we serve is simply astounding. Her delicate approach to behavior management not only successfully eases children—but their parents as well. Attendings consistently credit her thoroughness, humility, enthusiasm and a deep willingness to learn. She is constantly seeking ways to improve techniques. Even during fast paced days, Klein wants to find time to discuss difficult cases of the day, and how she could improve her approach to patient care. She is also always a willing volunteer to help, be it covering clinic, administrative needs,  or simply walking a patient from the emergency room to the dental clinic—she is there to help. The operating room rotation allows the residents to provide comprehensive patient care to patients who are in precarious situations. These full mouth rehabilitation procedures require time, planning, and in particular, materials. Klein has taken it upon herself  to coordinate with the hospital perioperative purchasing department to keep the pediatric dental supply cart fully stocked. She inventories and maintains all needed materials for pediatric patients  in the OR. She does this on top of her duties as a resident. Klein has made meaningful improvements that have left an indelible effect upon the residency as a whole. Beth has a tremendous desire to take care of patients and her colleagues. She does it enthusiastically and with a smile. This smile is ever present, even in the face of real concern. During the beginning of her second year, Klein was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. When told to take time off, she was reluctant to do so, fearing her patients would not be seen. Fortunately, she has an amazing team of co-residents who all pitched in to help. The cancer was treated immediately with encouraging results. Residency is a fast paced, demanding time. It requires commitment. Klein is dedicated, compassionate, and above all—willing to put others’ needs ahead of her own. She is dedicated to ensuring the patients receive the best care possible. She is passionate in providing appropriate and just clinical treatment to patients. Klein not only is a great example of a dedicated resident, but she is an example of someone who is just a good and giving person in general. It’s special individuals like Klein who we as a specialty should be proud to count among our ranks. This is the kind of inspiration we all look for not only in our profes- sion, but life in general.
Dr. Ratrice Jackson
NYU Langone Hospitals, Pediatric Dentistry Residency–Florida Site
Graduation: 2020 Community and Public Service
Lack of complimentary dental clinics, children without dental care, adults who cannot afford their dental visit—in Dr. Jackson’s home state of Arkansas, she has seen first- hand these disparities that exist within the United States. Growing up in a state without a dental school, she is reminded of America’s specific need for selfless, fun-filled individuals who possess a steadfast desire to aid children. These interests directed Jackson to research at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. After presenting her research, she realized that living a life committed to causing positive change within the youth is one of her life goals. She is currently working with Dr. Daniel Kane, the program director of NYU Lutheran Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry, to continue her research focusing  on the different learning styles of pediatric dental residents following their anesthesia rotation. After many experiences such as receiving a dual degree: Masters in Health Sciences and Doctorate of Den- tal Surgery Degree, serving as the program leader for Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Programs, serving as a dentist through Jamaica Awareness Association of Zion Care International Mission Trip, and being selected as an Indian Health Service Corps Extern she is interested in continuously collaborating with representatives from different healthcare pipelines. During residency, Jackson was selected by the Scholarship Committee of the National Dental Association Foundation (NDAF) and their partner Colgate-Palmolive to receive the Post-Doctoral Scholarship. Through this recognition she was able to continue thriving throughout residency which includes staying active within the NDA and AAPD while continuously getting involved with projects and outreach opportunities provided inside and outside of her community such as "Partners for Life". In addition, she will continue to have her voice heard at conventions to keep up with what is relevant to what our communities need.  Furthermore, during residency she has been acknowledged in "The Special Edition: THE BRIDGE Issue 9, Journal 1" prestige. Being in this magazine has aided Jackson in the unceasing appetite for promoting and serving the dental profession very well. Additionally, she has continued her commitment to raise oral health awareness by collaborating with Give Kids a Smile, Back to School Health Fairs, and taking initiatives to expand her knowledge and experience by attending CE courses that strengthen her passion to promote oral health care. Moreover, she was asked by The Summer Health Professions Education Program (SH- PEP) to be an ambassador. She serves as an alumna of the University of Washington and the University of Michigan amongst pipeline programs and she was able to write a blog for the SHPEP website during residency to inspire and mentor young professionals entering the health field. Jackson feels a monumental weight of responsibility to make a difference using her gifts to better serve not only children within her community but also communities abroad. Hence, it has always been Jackson’s priority to continue providing patient care, education, research and community service inside and outside of residency because of the comparable goal of providing the highest quality of health services.
Dr. Michelle L Thomas
University of Florida – Naples
Graduation: 2019
Community and Public Service
Dr. Michelle L. Thomas exhibits a true dedication in all aspects of her resi- dency. In her care of patients, Thomas goes above and beyond to make appointments approachable, fun, and exciting by providing materials to color while patients wait and play- ing her personal kid-friendly playlist during appointments. She also fully decorates her operatory throughout the year to make it more inviting to both her patients and their parents. As a clinician, Thomas has exemplary behavior management skills and is often requested by parents. It’s clear that she has a passion for providing excellent dentistry as well as preventative education.
As a first year resident, Thomas was innovative in her research ap- proach, allowing her to drastically increase the sample size of a previous project. This lead to clinically significant results regarding the use of SDF that she presented at the 2019 AAPD Annual Session. Ad- ditionally, Thomas has submitted her research to the IAPD Congress and is presently working on publication. As a dental student, Thomas presented research at the 2017 ADEA meeting studying a pilot clinical education model meant to enhance the education of  dental students and she is currently working on publishing this research as well. For Thomas, education and community service have seemed to consistently come hand in hand. She always accredits aspects of her success to her mentors that helped guide her and, in turn, it’s clear she strives to mentor others in any way she can.
In dental school, Thomas served as both her school and district ASDA predental chair and planned multiple successful predental con- ferences for hundreds of predental students. As a first year resident, she served as a presentor and panel member at the AAWD dental student conference discussing applying to and preparing for residency. In dental school, Thomas engaged with her community by creating a Girl Scout dental patch program, partipating in a program educat- ing pregnant and new teen mothers, giving countless elementary school oral health presentations, participating as an instructor for an organization called Surfers for Autism, and co-hosting a grand scale community service event called Super Sealant Saturday providing exams and sealants to children in the community.
As a resident, Thomas has continued her community involvement by participating in her local 2018 Give Kids a Smile event, continu- ing to work on and implement her girl scout dental patch at multiple schools, serving as an AAWD board member where she worked on position statements on pregnant and pediatric patients, and imple- menting a teen mother dental education program in the community. Thomas also has participated in international service. In dental school, she served on a week-long pediatric mission trip to the island of Andros and as a resident, returned not only to serve the Andros community but to mentor the dental students participating in the trip as well. Finally, as the chief resident, Thomas surpasses her duties and expectations. She created a comprehensive introductory manual for incoming residents, generates monthly schedules with fair distribution of cases for fellow residents, procures lunch and dinner and learn op- portunities, and orchestrates rotations. This year, when a new practice management system was implemented, she created instructional work flow sheets for residents, faculty, and staff to facilitate everyone’s tran- sition. She is incredibly dedicated and our program would not run as it does without her.

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