CDA Foundation honors humanitarian for lifetime of service

From Sacramento to China, Herbert Yee, DDS, recipient of the 2018 CDA Foundation Humanitarian Award, has served his community through dentistry, mentoring, leadership and philanthropy. Dr. Yee, a CDA member for seven decades, practiced dentistry in Sacramento for 54 years and inspired many students, including 20 family members spanning three generations, to become dentists.

“He had the vision that many of us lack. Along the way, my father’s love for people influenced all who came in contact with him,” said Yee’s son, H. Wesley Yee, DDS, who nominated him for the award. “I am incredibly proud of my father and deeply honored that the CDA Foundation selected him as its 2018 humanitarian.”

The CDA Foundation Humanitarian Award is given to California dentists who have distinguished themselves through a lifetime of outstanding, unselfish leadership and contributions to fellow human beings in the field of dentistry.

Yee, who graduated in 1948 from what is now the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, has helped pave the way for students pursuing a career in health care. He served on the university’s board of trustees for 34 years and established a scholarship endowment for students at the UOP School of Dentistry. He and his son, Dr. H. Wesley Yee, also created a scholarship fund for students of California State University, Sacramento, who are accepted into U.S. dental schools. Additionally, the elder Yee led the building of a school in his hometown in China, Kee Sui District, Sing Tong Village, and ensured scholarships were available for high-achieving and need-based students.  

“I’ve had a tremendous amount of accomplishments throughout my lifetime,” said Yee. “Being honored as this year’s recipient means a lot to me because I love my profession and I’m happy to be recognized for all I’ve done.”

Yee served on the California Board of Dental Examiners and the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation. Joseph R. Kenneally, president of the U.S.A. section of the International College of Dentists, said that in 1996 Yee helped create the Vietnam region of the ICD and placed service above himself as “a man for all seasons who has a special passion for service.” ICD awarded Yee with its highest honor for his work in establishing relations with China and Vietnam during a hostile political climate.

Additionally, Yee, a U.S. Army veteran, has committed himself to a lifetime of generosity and service that reaches beyond dentistry. He served on boards with the Sacramento County American Cancer Society and the California State Railroad Museum. Yee and his family also established the Dr. Herbert and Inez Yee Foundation, which supports more than 30 nonprofits in the Sacramento community.

Learn more about the Foundation’s awards and grants and see a list of past recipients on the Foundation website.

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