Charles F. Craft, D.D.S., of Lincoln, Nebraska, is the recipient of the 2019 American Dental Association (ADA) Humanitarian Award. The Humanitarian Award honors an ADA member for improving the quality of life and oral health of individuals both in the U.S and abroad over a period of 10 years or more. Dr. Craft will be honored at the 2019 ADA FDI World Dental Congress in San Francisco.
Dr. Craft is the founder of the East meets West Dental Program, the first American humanitarian dental project to be permanently based in-country following the Vietnam War. The program focuses on training Vietnamese dental providers and enhancing the local oral health care infrastructure. It has welcomed the services of more than 1,200 volunteer dentists, hygienists and dental students from around the world, treating more than 160,000 patients and providing over $30 million of free dental care.
“I want to thank the ADA for recognizing me and the work of the East meets West Dental Program,” Dr. Craft said. “I also want to express my appreciation to the rural Vietnamese villagers who have always welcomed us with open arms. It has been a professional honor to uphold their trust and to treat their children.”
Established in 2008, the ADA Humanitarian Award annually honors an ADA member for creating a legacy of volunteer works and is one of the Association’s highest honors. Criteria for the Humanitarian Award include significantly improving the quality of life and oral health, demonstrating significant leadership and serving as an inspiration to others both in the dental profession and the general population.
"Dr. Craft has dedicated his life to providing access to care for needy populations both in the U.S. and abroad, truly creating a legacy of service," said Jeffrey M. Cole, D.D.S., M.B.A., ADA president. "The Board of Trustees and I were impressed by his East meets West Dental Program in Vietnam, where Dr. Craft's ability to forge personal and political alliances, navigate local culture and lay the groundwork for his program under difficult conditions have and will continue to inspire countless others to get involved."
The award includes a $10,000 donation to the East meets West Dental Program, a bronze cast statue and travel support for the winner and their family to attend the award ceremony at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress 2019 in San Francisco.
In addition to Vietnam, Dr. Craft has served on other volunteer dental mission trips in Afghanistan, Borneo, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Jamaica, Mongolia, Madagascar, Nepal, the Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Sri Lanka and Thailand, as well as his home state of Nebraska.
About the ADA
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 163,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website MouthHealthy.org