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Washington State Dental Association

Dr. Sherwin Shinn Named Humanitarian of the Year by the ADA

For the last 22 years, Dr. Sherwin R. Shinn has dedicated his life to providing oral health care to underserved people. For his efforts, Dr. Shinn has been honored with the 2013 ADA Humanitarian Award. “I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Shinn for his contributions to the dental profession, and congratulate him,” said Dr. Robert A. Faiella, ADA president. “This prestigious award is designed to recognize an ADA member who has made a lasting impact on the oral health of their fellow human beings. It is clear that Dr. Shinn has changed the lives of individuals, and motivated other health care professionals to get involved and to give their time and resources to those in need.”  

Throughout his career, Shinn has traveled to more than 40 other countries, averaging four international trips a year, coordinating volunteer teams to provide dental care, teach oral hygiene, offer training and supplies to local providers, and improving maternal and infant health by upgrading conditions in rural labor and delivery rooms.

Dr. Shinn set up a nonprofit foundation to establish dental health education and outreach programs in developing countries. He has trained and mentored hundreds of volunteers, and says that many of them have gone on to start their own programs. “It’s humbling to see how people are afflicted and know that you have the capability to fix it. That’s what we dentists do,” he said. “Volunteering makes life so much more delicious and exciting and worth living. When you work for money, you can have all the things money can buy. When you work unconditionally, you get to have all the things money can’t buy.”

Dr. Shinn has received many accolades for his work, including the Washington State Dental Association 2003 Citizen of the Year, and the 2003 National Jefferson Award, the nation’s highest honor for public service. He is the co-founder of “International Smile Power”, and the co-founder and current president of “For World Wide Smiles”, which is planning trips to Uganda, Jamaica, and Haiti in 2013.  He is also the author of “Confessions of a Modern Dentist” and lectures self-esteem, personal empowerment and volunteerism. 

Dr. Shinn will receive a plaque and a $5,000 donation to For World Wide Smiles during the ADA’s 154th annual session in New Orleans Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
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