Gold StarThe MDA regularly honors members of the dental profession who have given back to their communities and their profession in ways that are exemplary. Each year the MDA recognizes members for their commitment to the field of dentistry and to the association, based on nominations made by the district dental societies. View this handout for further information, eligibility and entry guideline requirements.

Award Nomination Form

Candidate Nomination Form

Board of Dentistry Nomination Form

2023 MDA Honorees

Teresa Fong, D.D.S. – Guest of Honor
Kirby M. Johnson, D.D.S. – New Dentist Leadership Award
Jerome Appeldoorn, D.D.S. – Humanitarian Service Award
Howard Taylor, D.D.S. – Outstanding Service Award
Douglas R. Williams, D.D.S. – President’s Award (2022)

Past Recipients

Teresa Fong, D.D.S.

2023 MDA Guest of Honor

As an outstanding leader and a credit to the profession of dentistry and to her community, Dr. Teresa Fong has been chosen as the MDA’s 2023 Guest of Honor.

Dr. Fong earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry and her pediatric specialty certificate from the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. For more than 30 years she practiced pediatric dentistry in the Twin Cities metro area with Metropolitan Pediatric Dental Associates, Ltd, while committing endless volunteer hours toward improving access to dental care for underserved children.

Actively involved in organized dentistry throughout her entire career, Dr. Fong served on numerous committees at the state and district levels. She was on the executive council of the Minneapolis District Dental Society for many years and served as its president in 2003-2004. At the Minnesota Dental Association, she served as chair of the Dental Education Committee and the former Children’s Dental Health Committee, where she became the champion of the Dental Home Initiative to ensure that Head Start children received not only the federally required dental exam but were also able to find dental homes for ongoing care. She recently completed a six-year term as Minneapolis District’s trustee to the MDA Board of Trustees, and currently serves on the MDA ‘s Scientific Session Committee.

Dr. Fong is very involved at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, currently serving as an adjunct clinical faculty member in the Division of Pediatric Dentistry three days each week. She serves as the Predoctoral Clinic Director and enjoys working with dental health care students – our future generation of dentists, dental therapists, and dental hygienists! She also serves as the pediatric dental specialist for the new Health Partners AEGD residency program. She was co-chair of the fundraising effort for the new University of Minnesota Pediatric Dental Residency Clinic, which provides opportunities for dental and medical collaboration with the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. Her passion for this project is one more example of her dedication and commitment to serving her profession and her community.

Dr. Fong has been an active volunteer at the Hope Dental Clinic, and for Give Kids A Smile Day at Sharing and Caring Hands and also with the student-led GKAS at the University of Minnesota, both in Minneapolis. She has also been very active at Oak Grove Church in Golden Valley. She co-leads a group of elementary-age girls; memorizing Bible verses, developing a relationship with God, strengthening their faith, and building hope for their future. She serves as secretary/treasurer for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Foundation which provides funding to dental clinic throughout the United States working to provide access to dental care for vulnerable children across our nation. Teresa also serves on the Board of GIVING WoMN, a local group of philanthropic women who through pooled giving, support non-profit organizations working to improve the lives of people and communities most in need of assistance.

Dr. Fong was the recipient of the MDA’s President’s Award in 2022 and Humanitarian Service Award in 2015.

It is with great respect and appreciation that the MDA honors Dr. Teresa Fong as the 2023 Guest of Honor.

Kirby M. Johnson, D.D.S.

2023 New Dentist Leadership Award

Graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2014, Dr. Kirby M. Johnson has held positions at each level of the tripartite, beginning in dental school and continuing throughout his career as a new dentist.

While still in dental school, Dr. Johnson was actively involved in ASDA and was a strong advocate of organized dentistry. Able to effectively encourage his fellow dental students to join in ASDA membership, that enthusiasm carried over into his years as a West Central District Dental Society (WCDDS) leader, where he was instrumental in recruiting new dentists to serve on the WCDDS executive council and where has had served as district president.

Dr. Johnson served on the MDA’s former New Dentist and Membership Committee from 2012 until 2015. When the New Dentist and Membership Committee split into two separate entities, he stayed on until 2020 as a member of the Membership Committee. He also served as chair of the New Dentist Committee from 2018-2020, working to encourage each committee member to come up with new ideas that would enhance the value the MDA provides to its new dentist members. In addition, Dr. Johnson served as Student District Trustee to the MDA Board of Trustees in 2013-2014.

Dr. Johnson oversaw the planning of several events for new dentists, including a social at the Star of the North, the WCDDS Molar and Mulligan Scramble golf outing, a graduate student social event, and a new dentist night at a Saint Paul Saints baseball game. He represented the WCDDS as a delegate at the MDA House of Delegates from 2015-2021, serving as chair of the reference committee in 2020. He also represented the MDA as an alternate delegate to the ADA House of Delegates, a position he held in 2016 and 2017.

Since moving to Spicer, Minnesota in 2015, Dr. Johnson has quietly enriched his community, serving as a member of the Spicer Lions Club, as a Sunday School teacher at his church and, since 2020, as a volunteer mini mite coach with the River Lakes Hockey Association.

Additionally, Dr. Johnson has participated in several dental-related volunteer activities, including every annual Give Kids a Smile event since 2015, four Minnesota Mission of Mercy events, and, since 2019, as a Donated Dental Services provider with the Dental Lifeline Network’s Donated Dental Services (DDS) program.

The Minnesota Dental Association is pleased to honor Dr. Kirby Johnson with the 2023 New Dentist Leadership Award.

Jerome Appeldoorn, D.D.S.

2023 Humanitarian Service Award

Dr. Jerome “Jerry” Appeldoorn earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1969 from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. During his 50-plus years of dentistry, his compassion and care for the underserved has led to many individuals receiving dental care to which they normally would not have access.
Dr. Appeldoorn has been a generous volunteer of his time and talents, providing humanitarian care not just locally, but also abroad. His gentle and humble nature has been extremely valuable, too, in providing mentorship to pre-dental and dental students through his efforts at Saint Olaf College and Carleton College, and as a clinical assistant professor for 14 years at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. In addition, he served as an officer in the U. S. Air Force Dental Corps.
Along with several professors at Saint Olaf, Dr. Appeldoorn helped to develop and execute an annual medical/dental mission experience to several Peru orphanages. For over 10 years, with his guidance, this study-abroad program was one of the most popular for pre-dental students at that college.
More recently, Dr. Appeldoorn has been instrumental in initiating and volunteering in a program for free local dental care through Health Finders, a local non-profit health program in Rice County. The dental arm of Health Finders provides relief for Rice County patients who have no other access to dental treatment. Dr. Appeldoorn has served as their lead volunteer dentist.
An active member of the ADA, MDA, and the Southeastern District Dental Society, the latter for which he is a past president, Dr. Appeldoorn has also been a member (and a past president) of the Northfield Rotary Club, a member of his local church council and choir, and a board member of the Northfield Community Action Center.
The MDA is honored to present Dr. Jerome Appeldoorn with the 2023 Humanitarian Service Award.

Howard Taylor, D.D.S.

2023 Outstanding Service Award

Dr. Howard Taylor was raised in the northeastern area of Minneapolis and initially practiced in that neighborhood before establishing a practice in the Roseville area. His post-graduate training was in advanced restorative skills that served his patients well for 46 years.

Graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1971, Dr. Taylor was initially involved with the Minneapolis District Dental Society and soon transferred to the Saint Paul District Dental Society (SPDDS) after opening his Roseville office. He served SPDDS as president and also chaired several committees and study clubs including the Minnesota Academy for Gnathological Research and the SPDDS Speakers’ Bureau. Service has been a core life value since his first job after high school with the YMCA. The Minnesota Mission of Mercy and his faith community have been constant and regular areas of commitment.

Elected in 2011 as the MDA’s Speaker of the House, Dr. Taylor enthusiastically took on his new assignment and was involved with the MDA staff in making regular reviews of the House of Delegates process to keep the HOD relevant and current. In his role of Speaker, he used his knowledge in parliamentary procedure to teach and train MDA and district leadership in the use of parliamentary procedure in an effort to make meetings more productive and efficient while ensuring fairness to all participants.

Dr. Taylor was awarded the MDA President’s Award in 2014. In accepting that honor, he recounted how his own involvement in organized dentistry came via an invitation by another MDA member dentist. He encouraged others to not only remain involved in organized dentistry, but to invite and encourage others to participate in the process of maintaining a strong profession.

A dedicated leader and coach, Dr. Taylor continuously reached out to district leadership and members to inspire greater engagement in the governance process. He remains active on the Constitution, Bylaws and Ethics and Resolution Review Committees.

Retiring from dentistry in 2016, Dr. Taylor and his wife Cherry purchased a home in Florida where he currently serves on his Homeowners Association Board.

The MDA congratulates Dr. Howard Taylor on his selection as the 2023 Outstanding Service Award recipient.

Douglas R. Williams, D.D.S.

2022 President’s Award

Each year the current MDA President has the distinct honor of choosing the one member whom he or she believes stands out amongst all others. Always a challenging decision to make, the president nevertheless carefully considers the various services each member has provided to the association and to the profession, and chooses accordingly. Dr. Amber Cziok has announced her decision to honor Dr. Douglas R. Williams with her President’s Award.

Dr. Cziok has this to say about her decision:

“This year I chose to honor Dr. Doug Williams with the President’s Award. Dr. Williams is a recognizable face to many as he served as Treasurer of the MDA for six years while I served on the MDA Board of Trustees and ascended the executive chairs. As many of us run private practices or the financials of our households, we understand the importance of knowing the details of our financial standings and investments and managing the income/debt ratios. The MDA treasurer is an often overlooked position that requires extensive knowledge of the financials of an organization that you individually have very little power to control or adjust. Although some may find this mundane or burdensome, Doug chose to serve his organization with diligence and precision and many good anecdotal comparisons.

Dr. Williams is a leader, a retired dentist, a man who cherishes his family, a storyteller, a mentor and a friend. I could not let Dr. Williams fade away from his leadership role at the Minnesota Dental Association without recognition and presentation of an award for his tremendous service.”

Dr. Williams graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1983. Since that time, he has been a member of the ADA, the MDA, and the Northwestern District Dental Society (NWDDS), serving as NWDDS’ 2010-2011 president. He has held leadership positions within North Country Health Services, the Minnesota Hospital Association, and his faith community. In addition to being the MDA treasurer for six years, he has served on the MDA’s Legislative Affairs, Peer Review, and Affinity Products Committees, and is a past MDA delegate to the ADA’s annual meeting.

The MDA congratulates Dr. Douglas Williams on his selection as the 2022 President’s Award recipient.