On April 1, 2015, in conjunction with the inaugural Oral Health Legislative Day, Oral Health Nevada presented its annual Oral Health Hero Award to two Nevada Assemblymen, Teresa Benitez-Thompson and James Oscarson. Ms. Syd McKenzie, founder of Oral Health Nevada stated, “Each of these individuals has demonstrated public health leadership that initiated change and improved oral health for all Nevadans; they are our oral health heroes.”
Assemblywoman Benitez-Thompson was honored for her sponsorship of AB277 in Nevada’s 77th Legislative Session and its subsequent impact for increasing access to dental care for the state’s most vulnerable residents. As a result of the new law, low income children, seniors, the chronically ill and those with disabilities and special needs have access to oral health education and preventive dental care, the cornerstone of dental public health – leading to better general health and well-being.
Assemblyman Oscarson was honored for his dedication to public health and his outstanding support of school-based oral health prevention programs which have helped to address the oral health disparities impacting Nevada’s youngest residents living in low income households and in our most rural communities. According to McKenzie, “As a healthcare professional, the Assemblyman brings a unique perspective to his position as a Legislator.”