Each year the MDA recognizes exceptional service to the public and the dental profession through its awards program. MDA awards are presented each year at the MDA Annual Session during the first session of the House of Delegates. View this year’s award recipients below.
John G. Nolen Meritorious Award
John Kamar, DDS
The Dr. John G. Nolen Meritorious Award, named after the late longtime MDA executive director, is the association’s highest honor. This year it goes to a true leader: Dr. John Kamar, of Oakland County.
After a professional career devoted both to private practice and dental education as a clinical professor, Dr. Kamar assumed the reins as Oakland County Dental Society executive director, immediately making an impact with his warm, welcoming personality. His motto as executive director was “treat people like they are guests at your daughter’s wedding.” His interactions with every member and guest at Oakland meetings truly embodied this motto. He encouraged countless members to get involved in organized dentistry at the local and state level. He welcomed new graduates with open arms. He gave new enthusiasm to longtime members. He increased membership in the society, developed a mentorship program, and tirelessly helped member dentists get through the coronavirus pandemic by organizing PPE drives, mask fittings, taking calls, and just lending an ear to those wanting answers or who needed to talk.
Not only is Dr. Kamar an excellent clinical dentist, he is an individual who has put his heart, soul, and considerable talents into improving our great profession. Congratulations, Dr. Kamar, and thank you!
Matt Uday New Dentist Leadership Award
Dr. Hassan Yehia, DDS, MS
Dr. Hassan Yehia, an endodontist practicing in Royal Oak, has demonstrated exemplary advocacy for the dental profession since his entry into dentistry. For example, he is the youngest specialist to serve on the Michigan Board of Dentistry; he serves as a Board member of the MDA political action committee, MDA Dental PAC, and he is also an adjunct clinical instructor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. In addition, he serves as an examiner for the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment (formerly NERB).
Dr. Yehia is an adjunct clinical faculty at the University of Michigan Graduate Endodontics Program. He has published research in journals including the Journal of Endodontics and the Journal of Dental Education. Additionally, he has received the Robert Ellison Award from the Michigan Association of Endodontists for outstanding knowledge of endodontic literature.
As a new dentist, his list of accomplishments is remarkable, and ever-growing. He is a leader today, and is certain to continue to be a strong leader for Michigan dentistry in the future. The late Dr. Matt Uday would be proud to know that Dr. Hassan Yehia is this year’s recipient of the MDA New Dentist Leadership Award that bears his name.
Public Service Award
Karen McGuire Trompeter, RDH, MPH
Karen McGuire Trompeter’s entire career has been devoted to serving the working poor in the Detroit metropolitan area. Affiliated for many years with the Tri-County Dental Health Program, she has made a remarkable impact on her community and in the lives of many individuals. She is one of this year’s recipient of the MDA Public Service Award.
Trompeter has served the Tri-County Dental Health Program as director for 12 years, and served as executive director of the Tri-County Dental Health Council for 24 years. She was instrumental in obtaining grants to initiate and lead the Oral Health Coalition for Adults with Disabilities; obtained grants to initiate and lead various collaborative programs; provided dental referral services; obtained grants to operate the Dental Emergency Assistance Program, matching volunteer dentists who provided pro-bono dental care; and has been responsible for many other accomplishments benefiting the public over her long career.
The purpose of the Public Service Award is to recognize exceptional contributions to the public and the dental profession in the field of dental health and related activities. She truly is exceptional, and certainly embodies the spirit of the MDA Public Service Award.
Public Service Award
Warren Thompson, DDS
Dr. Warren Thompson, of Ionia, was instrumental in educating and promoting to Ionia city officials the importance of adding fluoride to the public water supply. His efforts helped convince the public to embrace fluoridation in a public vote in 1997. Since the addition of fluoride to the public water supply, the beneficial impact on public health has, of course, been substantial. But without Dr. Thompson’s persistence, water fluoridation at the time may not have happened at all. Dr. Thompson’s efforts are an excellent example of how one local dentist can make a large impact on a community. It exemplifies professionalism and service to the profession and beyond.
Dr. Thompson is a 1974 graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. He began practicing in Ionia in 1974 and remained in practice until retiring in 2011. A longtime member of the MDA, ADA, and West Michigan District, he remains active in community volunteer programs and with his church.
The MDA is proud to bestow one of its two 2023 Public Service Awards to Dr. Warren Thompson.
Dental Faculty Awards | University of Detroit Mercy
Mary Parise, BSN, DDS
Dr. Mary Parise is this year’s MDA Dental Faculty Award-winner from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. Over the course of a 40-year career, she has served the School as a clinical instructor, assistant professor, group practice administrator, as director of predoctoral patient care at the University Health Center, as director of quality improvement, and in a myriad of other posts.
Dr. Parise has been active as a member of numerous committees, as a writer in The Leading Edge, as a speaker, particularly on care for HIV patients and oral implications, as well as in many additional capacities. She has served as a class adviser, and received the Detroit Mercy Dental Outstanding Faculty Member award from the Class of 2001, among other deserved honors.
Her service to the community includes effective governmental advocacy to reinstate adult dental Medicaid, as a presenter to various groups, as a consultant to the Michigan Department of Community Health Michigan Dental Project, supervision of AEGD residents in mouth guard fabrication at various locations, and more.
She is truly an outstanding member of Michigan dentistry – one both the University of Detroit Mercy and the Michigan Dental Association can be proud to call our own.
Dental Faculty Awards | University of Michigan
Mark Fitzgerald, DDS, MS
Dr. Mark Fitzgerald is this year’s MDA Dental Faculty Award-winner from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. An associate professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, he serves as associate dean for community based collaborative education. In this role, he has established numerous outreaching rotation sites for junior and senior dental students. At these sites, students work with adjunct faculty to provide comprehensive dental care for the underserved community.
Dr. Fitzgerald’s leadership and service for the Michigan community is unparalleled. Most notably, Dr. Fitzgerald and co-director Dr. Howard Hamerink successfully created the Victors for Veterans program in the state of Michigan. Over the past decade, the School of Dentistry has provided free, comprehensive care valued at about $1.7 million to more than 480 veterans statewide. Beyond the initial program, clinics in Brighton and Pontiac were subsequently established. This program has been well-received by veterans, and because of this important outreach experience, 16% of the U-M DDS class of 2022 accepted positions to work at community health centers upon graduation.
Allied Dental Professional Educator Award
Maureen Van Hook, RDH, MS
Maureen Van Hook has been a faculty member at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry since 2012. She is a dedicated educator, with a passion for dental hygiene. She has dedicated her career to teaching students how to best care for their patients.
Starting out as a part-time faculty member, she served as adjunct clinical professor from 2012-15, as an assistant clinical professor from 2015-19, and is currently director of the School’s dental hygiene program. She has served on numerous Detroit Mercy Dental committees and in other roles at the School. Notably, she received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Detroit Mercy Dental Hygiene Classes of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018. She has presented nationally at various dental hygiene conferences and sessions.
An exceptional volunteer, Van Hook is a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association, and has served as a delegate at the MDHA House of Delegates. She has also served in various capacities with the American Dental Education Association.
Donated Dental Services Volunteer Dentist
Sarah Mahar, DDS
Recruiting dentists in rural areas of Michigan takes time and patience. Dr. Mahar started participating as a volunteer in 2017. The coordinator was declined by 3 other dentists in Montcalm and Ionia county before Dr. Mahar accepted. There are very few dentists who practice in this area of the state. The program currently has only three general dentist volunteers in Ionia county and two in Montcalm County. Dr. Maher’s kindness and ability to help DDS patients has helped reduce the waitlist. After joining the program, she has consistently answered the call to accept new DDS patients. She has a personal approach when engaging with patients and heavily involves her staff in the coordination which eases case management and helps the patient feel involved and welcome in their office. Her overall goal is to create smiles. All her cases have involved removables and she is flexible when it comes to securing labs which makes it more efficient to complete cases.
Donated Dental Services Volunteer Dental Lab
LaDouce Dental Lab
LaDouce Dental Lab has participated in the program since 1996 as a full-service lab. They routinely participate despite price increases in metal and materials. They have provided over 100 removeable partials or dentures to those in need throughout Michigan. Their website says “Smiles are what we live for here at LaDouce.” They have demonstrated this to the coordinators through their warm and friendly demeanor. In addition, they take time to explain to the coordinator the best option for fabrication or ways the program can support volunteers. They do a wonderful job evolving with technology and the dentists that use them are thrilled with their craftmanship and talents.