Dental Tribune USA
Steven W. Kess, left, vice president of global professional relations at Henry Schein, and Dr. Jeffrey M. Cole, president of the American Dental Association. (Photo: Business Wire)

Kess is named an honorary member of ADA

By Dental Tribune USA
September 10, 2019

MELVILLE, N.Y., USA: Steven W. Kess, vice president of global professional relations at Henry Schein Inc., was named an American Dental Association honorary member for his dedication to improving oral health and access to care. Kess accepted his membership at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress 2019 in San Francisco on Sept. 6.

One of five individuals to receive the honorary membership at the ADA FDI 2019 annual meeting, Kess was recognized for his collaborative work with the ADA and the ADA Foundation, including the creation of the Give Kids A Smile (GKAS) national program, which has provided more than 5.5 million underserved children with free oral health services since its launch in 2003.

“I am privileged to represent Team Schein, alongside our industry colleagues and the dental profession, to help create public-private partnerships such as Give Kids A Smile that address the oral health needs of underserved and at-risk populations,” Kess said. “Over the years, these partnerships have provided a platform for multiple stakeholders to work together to address oral health literacy, access to care, and the importance of oral health as part of primary care. I am humbled to receive this honor from the ADA, and I could not be more grateful for their recognition, which I share with Team Schein.”

“My involvement in this work would not have been possible without the guidance and mentorship of four individuals whose energy and wisdom have supported this work: the late Dr. Larry Meskin, a beloved dental educator and former editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association; Dr. Mike Alfano, the former dean of the NYU College of Dentistry and one of the founders of the Santa Fe Group; Dr. Tony Volpe, former president of the ADAF and my ‘partner’ from Colgate; and Stan Bergman, the chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, whose passion for this work burns bright,” Kess said. “I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of oral health or more inspired by the dental professionals and their teams to advance our mutual cause of expanding access to care.”

As one of the driving forces of the GKAS program, Kess has excelled in forging public-private partnerships. Kess has applied the model of engagement for GKAS to several other programs focused on improving access to care, including the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program, created to address public health and access to care issues in dentistry and oral health, and the Alpha Omega-Henry Schein Cares Holocaust Survivors Oral Health Program, established to answer the White House's call to action to help vulnerable survivors age with dignity and support.

Kess was also instrumental in the development of Project Accessible Oral Health, a global public-private partnership and the first to nationally assemble and connect a consortium of dental and medical professionals, corporations, organizations, policymakers, educators, people with disabilities, caregivers and other stakeholders in pursuit of equal access to culturally competent oral health care.

“For the past 28 years, Steve has been committed to improving access to care, serving the underserved, and giving back to the community,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein. “Working together with the ADA, the Give Kids A Smile program has continued to grow because of Steve’s passion and dedication. He truly exemplifies the idea of ‘doing well by doing good’ and has been a catalyst for change. We are grateful for all he has done for us at Team Schein.”

Kess joined Henry Schein in 1991 and has been a consistent champion for the importance of oral health and, more importantly, the integration of oral health as primary care.

(Source: Business Wire)

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