AAPD CEO Honored With Oustanding Public Advocacy Award

December 7, 2012 11:17 AM

Dr. John S. Rutkauskas, chief executive officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), was selected as the 2012 recipient of the Outstanding Public Advocacy Award on behalf of the Friends of the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (FNIDCR). The award was presented to Rutkauskas during FNIDCR’s Annual Conference and Awards Dinner for its members and friends, including distinguished leaders from across the U.S., Canada and abroad, on December 6 at the Marriott Hotel at Metro Center, Washington, D.C.

This award is presented to an individual or organization that has helped foster improved health care for patients and other health consumers through advocacy efforts for specific patient groups and/or public education activities. Past awardees include C. Everett Koop, Joe Garagiola, Scientific American, the Washington Post and most recently, Terrie Cowley, Co-founder of TMJ Association, Ltd.

When FNIDCR Board member Mary Kaye Richter nominated Rutkauskas as a candidate for the association’s prestigious Outstanding Public Advocacy Award, there was unconditional support from the board that he be this year’s recipient. Richter is the past executive director of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias. As she said, "Dr. Rutkauskas has been a stellar advocate for oral health care for special patient populations – first as CEO at Special Care in Dentistry and more recently as CEO of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry."

Members of the FNIDCR Board acknowledged his vigorous efforts to get oral health coverage for patients with special needs under medical insurance, his advocacy for oral health care when the first discussions on national health care insurance began in the 1990’s, and his continued fight for the needs of special care populations. Richter added, "John was among the first to champion those needs at a time when doing so was unpopular with the status quo." FNIDCR applauds his commitment to advocacy with this oft-times, under-served population.

"I am humbled and deeply honored to be receiving this award," said Rutkauskas. "This recognition from such a renowned organization as FNIDCR is testament of the need for me to continue advocating for optimal health for all children and patients with special needs. It is in tribute to them that I respectfully accept this award."

For more information on FNIDCR’s Annual Conference and awards of excellence, please visit: http://www.fnidcr.org/special/index.html


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