Meharry Medical College Officer Will Head the National Dental Association

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Nashville dentist Dr. Walter R. Owens will be installed as the 86th president of the National Dental Association (NDA) at 6 p.m. on December 5 at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville.

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Dr. Walter R. Owens

I am honored to serve as head of one of the nation’s largest professional health care associations during this important time for health care policy in our nation’s history.

Nashville dentist Dr. Walter R. Owens will be installed as the 86th president of the National Dental Association (NDA) at 6 p.m. on December 5 at the Loews Vanderbilt Plaza Hotel in Nashville.

The 96-year-old dental association is the leading voice and advocate of oral health care concerns for ethnic minorities.

Its mission is to elevate the global oral health concerns of underserved communities and to enhance educational and financial opportunities and public policy awareness for its members.

Dr. Owens, a native of Nashville, practiced dentistry in Tennessee for more than 25 years before retiring from private practice in 2005. He currently serves as senior development officer for the Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.

Dr. Owens will be joined during the installation activities by Dr. Ray Gist, newly elected president of the American Dental Association (ADA). Dr. Gist is the first African-American president-elect of the ADA in its 150 year history.

When Dr. Owens and Dr. Gist join for a panel discussion on oral health, it will mark the first time that the nation’s two leading dental professional membership organizations will both be led by African Americans.

“I am honored to serve as head of one of the nation’s largest professional health care associations during this important time for health care policy in our nation’s history,” said Owens, who was elected for a one-year term. “The National Dental Association has been the leader in representing the concerns of ethnic minorities in dentistry and I look forward to continuing that mission.”

About Dr. Walter R. Owens: Dr. Owens is a graduate of Tennessee State University and the Howard University College of Dentistry. He is a U.S. Army veteran of 10 years and continues to be a volunteer, mentor and political activist on oral health care disparities on a local and national level. He serves as a member of the TennCare dental advisory committee, as well as the Pan-Tennessee Dental Association liaison to the Tennessee Board of Dentistry.

Dr. Owens promotes dental health awareness for the disadvantaged through many public and private organizations and recently spoke to congressional representatives on Capitol Hill regarding the Deamonte Driver bill and other related legislation affecting access to care.

His honors include, Howard University College of Dentistry Alumni of the year, fellow of the American College of Dentists, fellow of the International College of Dentists, Tennessee Dental Association fellow and the Pan-Tennessee Dental Association living legend award. He has been recognized by local, state and national organizations such as the Tennessee Dental Association and the American Dental Association for his leadership.

About the National Dental Association: The National Dental Association is the leading voice and advocate of oral health care concerns for ethnic minorities. Its mission is to elevate the global oral health concerns of underserved communities and to enhance educational and financial opportunities and public policy awareness for its members. The organization is composed of 48 state and local chapters throughout the U.S. and Caribbean and it represents more than 6,000 Black dentists. It is also the parent organization of the Student National Dental Association, National Dental Hygienists Association, National Dental Assistants Association and Auxiliary National Dental Association.

About Meharry Medical College: Meharry Medical College is the nation’s largest private, independent, historically black academic health center dedicated solely to educating minority and other health professionals. True to its heritage, it is a United Methodist Church affiliated institution. The College is particularly well known for its uniquely nurturing, highly effective educational programs; emerging preeminence in health disparities research; culturally sensitive, evidence-based health services; and significant contribution to the diversity of the nation’s health professions workforce. Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s ranking of institutions annually lists Meharry as a leading national educator of African Americans with M.D. and D.D.S. degrees, and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences. Visit http://www.mmc.edu to learn more].

Contacts:
Janet M. Caldwell: 615.500.0632
Cynthia Yeldell: 615.327.6986 or 615.280.0319

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