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CDA members can nominate a California dentist for Foundation's Humanitarian Award

Award recognizes California dentists for their lifetime of commitment, leadership

May 05, 2021 1402
CDA Foundation Humanitarian Award

Quick Summary:

Established in 2008, the award recognizes California dentists for their individual lifetime of volunteer commitment and leadership. The Foundation will consider nominees who exemplify certain humanitarian ideals and attributes and who serve as an inspiration to the dental profession.

CDA members and component dental society executive directors can nominate a California-licensed active or retired dentist through Wednesday, June 30, for the CDA Foundation’s 2021 Humanitarian Award honoring the late Andrew Soderstrom, DDS. The entire nomination process can be completed online.

Established in 2008, the award recognizes California dentists for their individual lifetime of volunteer commitment and leadership. The Foundation will consider nominees who exemplify certain humanitarian ideals and attributes and who serve as an inspiration to the dental profession. Specifically, nominees must:

  • Contribute significantly to the alleviation of human suffering and improve the quality of life and oral health of individuals served
  • Show a lifetime’s commitment to humanity and selflessness in regard to direct personal or organizational gain or profit
  • Establish a legacy that is of ongoing value and benefit to others
  • Demonstrate the highest level of compassion, respect, integrity and professionalism when caring for patients and their families while being sensitive to religious, cultural and ethnic differences
  • Meet additional eligibility criteria outlined in the nomination guidelines

Nominators can submit their nominations online and will need to include supporting documents with the nomination, including a curriculum vitae or resume that highlights the nominee’s qualifications and contributions and a letter of support signed by an individual who is not the nominator. The Foundation will also review up to three pages of other documentation, such as testimonials, news articles and narratives, that help to present the nominee’s character and achievements.

2021 award honors career-long leader, past award recipient Dr. Soderstrom

The 2021 award will be given in honor of Dr. Andrew Soderstrom, CDA past president and CDA Cares co-founder, who died in April 2020 at his home in Modesto, where he’d owned and operated a private pediatric dental practice since 1985.

Soderstrom received the Foundation’s Humanitarian Award in 2015. He held dozens of leadership positions in dentistry and several teaching positions over his 37-year career. He served on many ADA and CDA councils and committees concerned with access to care, including as chair of ADA’s Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention in 2017. He also held positions with state and local associations such as the California Society of Pediatric Dentists and the California and Stanislaus Dental Society.

In 2012 following observation of a Mission of Mercy clinic in Oregon, Soderstrom was instrumental in launching CDA Cares, the CDA Foundation’s volunteer-run dental clinic that provides no-cost dental care to underserved communities. 

He received numerous honors and awards over his lifetime, including the Pierre Fauchard Award in 1982-83 for outstanding leadership in dentistry, and he was in his eighth year providing oral health care at La Clinica Dental Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Oakland at the time of his death. Ariane Terlet, DDS, chief dental officer at the clinic, said Soderstrom was “deeply committed to the community and access to care.”

Past recipients establish scholarship endowments, provide surgical care on international mission trips

Recent past recipients of the Foundation Award include Herbert Yee, DDS, who among other achievements established a scholarship endowment for students at the University of the Pacific, Dugoni School of Dentistry and led the construction of a school in his hometown in China. He also helped to create the Vietnam region of the International College of Dentists.

Lester Low, DDS, a nearly 30-year volunteer at St. Raphael’s Dental Clinic in Stockton, received the award in 2017. He became the clinic’s volunteer director in 2008, and under his leadership the clinic provided free dental care to 1,693 patients in 2016.

Jeffrey Moses, DDS, FAACS, received the award in 2016. Dr. Moses began providing charitable dental care on surgical mission trips in 1977 while serving in the U.S. Naval Dental Corps. For decades later, he was still coordinating, leading and participating in surgical dento-facial corrections around the world for children with disadvantaged backgrounds.

The award has been given annually, historically, but the Foundation may elect to not give the award if it does not receive nominations for eligible nominees. The award webpage lists all past award recipients with links to their biographies.

Nominate a California dentist for the 2021 Humanitarian Award. Learn about other grants and awards the CDA Foundation offers annually to support dental professionals and community-based organizations statewide that provide dental care to underserved communities.