Dental Health Science Faculty Member Honored for Commitment to Community Health

Pacific University School of Dental Health Science instructor Wilbur Ramírez-Rodríguez '10, RDH, has been selected the 2013 recipient of the Oregon Public Health Institute Emerging Leader Award.

The honor is part of the OPHI's "Genius Awards" program, designed to recognize outstanding Oregonians who have made significant contributions to improving the health of the public.

Award recipients embody dedication, compassion, commitment and an “out-of-the-box” approach in developing collaborative solutions to public health issues.

A dentist in his native country of Peru, Ramírez-Rodríguez moved to Oregon and became a dental hygienist to provide oral care to underserved communities and promote public health.

At Pacific, he manages the Smile Care Everywhere program, which provides dental health services to low-income and underserved migrant families in Washington County.

Ramírez-Rodríguez also works directly with students at the university's Interprofessional Diabetes Clinic in providing dental health services to diabetic patients. His instruction and supervision allows students to gain valuable clinical experience while providing quality care to those in need.

Additionally, Ramírez-Rodríguez created Dental Reach, a program that partners with Tuality Healthcare's Salud! Services to provide preventive oral healthcare to more than 400 migrant and seasonal vineyard and winery workers.

Ramírez-Rodríguez, also an alumnus of the university's dental hygiene program, will receive the Emerging Leader Award during the 2013 Billi Odegaard Public Health Genius Awards luncheon on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland.

Other honorees include Lifetime Excellence Award recipient Mary Lou Hennrich and the Oregon Health Equity Alliance, recipient of the Exceptional Group Achievement Award.

A member of the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), OPHI is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that leads Oregon’s movement for a sustainable public health agenda.

Pacific University's School of Dental Health Science is part of the university's College of Health Professions. The school provides preventative dental health services at its clinic located at the university's Hillsboro Campus.

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013