March 13, 2014
The ADA recently announced that it has awarded WSDA member Dr. Christopher Herzog the 2014 Golden Apple for New Dentist Legislative Leadership. Herzog, a pediatric dentist from Spokane, has been a passionate grassroots advocate for organized dentistry since he was a student at the University of Washington School of Dentistry. The award recognizes an ADA member dentist who graduated on or after January 1, 2004, and who has demonstrated outstanding political or legislative leadership initiative.
While at UWSoD, Herzog was an ASDA representative and student delegate, the face of the student body at local, state and national meetings — voicing the ideas, hopes and concerns of his fellow classmates. During that time, he first attended WSDA’s Dental Action Day, where he met with legislators making connections and relationships in the political arena that he continues to nurture.
Dr. Herzog has been a stalwart supporter of WSDA’s efforts to defeat midlevel providers — each time bringing his expertise and gravitas to the fore. For three consecutive legislative sessions (2011-13), Dr. Herzog was a member of WSDA’s testimony team that advocated against any new provider who could perform irreversible procedures without the supervision of a dentist. Additionally, Dr. Herzog has remained active politically by continuing to attend Dental Action Day events and by working closely with his hometown legislators to further cement his relationship with them — through personal meetings, fundraisers and other events.
As the Chair of the newly-formed Task Force on Public Policy, Dr. Herzog is working with dentists from around the state to formulate, shape, and examine current public policy on dentistry, while at the same time suggesting changes and new directions for the future. With an eye toward increasing access to care through internships and expanded satellite dental programs across the state, the task force is open to any number of options, and Dr. Herzog has shown he has the mettle to harness and focus the group.
For a young dentist, Dr. Herzog has amassed an enviable list of accomplishments — including induction in the Pierre Fauchard Academy in 2011, serving as President of the Washington State Association of Pediatric Dentists in 2012, and continued service the boards (or executive councils) of the Washington State Dental Association, the Spokane District Dental Society, and the Washington Dentists' Insurance Agency.
As noted earlier, Dr. Herzog has been active since dental school and remains so, with an unwavering conviction not often seen in young dentists, who often put aside organized dentistry early in their to focus on raising a family. Dr. Herzog has a vitality and energy that allows him to manage family commitments and organized dentistry, with time left over to participate in charitable care throughout the Spokane region. At the component level, Herzog not only serves on the Executive Council, but also volunteers time for Society charitable events, and continues to see patients with no dental home in his thriving group practice.
At the state level, Herzog continues his board, task force, and grassroots advocacy efforts, unabated. Bracken Killpack, Vice President of Government Affairs says, "When we need help with a fundraiser, getting the word out, or really anything that's going to advance organized dentistry, Dr. Herzog always has his hand up. He really is a one-man juggernaut in the legislative arena."