Sakamoto, Johnson Honored by Dental Association

January 24, 2011, 11:06 PM HST
* Updated January 29, 2:17 AM
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By Robin G. Pilus

Nancy Johnson and Clyde Sakamoto, image courtesy UHMC.

Dr. Clyde Sakamoto, Chancellor of UHMC, and Allied Health Chair, Nancy K. Johnson, RN, were selected as recipients of the Hawaii Dental Association Award of Honor at the Association’s Annual Meeting held on January 20, 2011 at  the Ala Moana Hotel.

Sakamoto and Johnson were selected for making noteworthy improvements in the general area of oral health in the State of Hawaii, and for outstanding contributions  in the promotion of dentistry.

The UH Maui College Dental Assisting program was started started in Fall 2002 in response to an identified community need for dental assistants and hygienists.  By May 2011, 142 dental assistants will have completed the nationally accredited Dental Assistant program.

The Maui Oral Health Initiative was also started in Fall 2002 and includes a Mobile Dental Van and the Maui Oral Health Center.   It also serves as a site for the Lutheran Medical Center Dental Residence Program.  The MOHI provided 61,700 patient visits from 2002-2010.  In 2010 the MOHI provided  11,000 appointments to 3,000 individual patients.

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The UHMC Dental Hygiene program was started in 2009 and is expected to graduate its first nine practitioners in Spring 2011.

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Joyce Yamada, Dental Assisting Program Coordinator said, “Chancellor Sakamoto and Ms. Johnson are well deserving of this honor. Their leadership has positively impacted many UHMC students and Maui residents. They have both championed and worked tirelessly to create and support the successful dental programs that we have today. There are many in the dental community that are appreciative of their accomplishments and the ongoing programs that UHMC provides.”

When asked her reaction on receiving the award Ms. Johnson replied, “The HDA award really belongs to the Maui County Dental Community. Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui County Health Officer, first brought the oral health needs to the attention of Maui College. The Maui County Dental Society members supported the program development with donations of time, money, equipment, and expertise. The development of these programs is a model for how communities can respond to health care needs.”

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