Golisano Foundation 2019 Move to Include Award Presented to Dr. Allen Wong

Photo; (l to r) Dr. M. Dian Chin Kit-Wells, clinical assistant professor of pediatric and community dentistry at University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine; Barbie Vartanian, Executive Director,
Project Accessible Oral Health; Dr. Allen Wong; Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation Director; Dr. Steve Perlman, founder of Special Olympics Special Smiles; Dr. Abra Caroci, Pediatric Dentist. Drs. Perlman and Caroci are recipients of the Golisano Health Leadership Award.

Rochester, NY – October 28, 2019 – Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation presented its prestigious Move to Include Award to Allen Wong, DDS, EdD, DABSCD, on October 28 at the University of Buffalo  School of Dental Medicine's Joseph E. Bernat Symposium—Oral Health Care Options for the Population with Intellectual & Development Disabilities.

"Dr. Wong is the perfect, most deserving recipient of the Award," said Costello. "His tireless efforts and lifelong work to improve oral health for people with IDD is remarkable, greatly appreciated and a shining example to dentists all over the world."

The Golisano Foundation Move to Include Awards are given to those who both "believe" and "act" in the purest realm of the essence of "move to include." It's an award that challenges its very name.

Dr. Wong, who practices dentistry in San Francisco, California, is a widely-recognized expert in special care dentistry, with more than 25 years of experience caring for with people with special needs. He has been working with Special Olympics and Special Smiles for 20 years. In 2016 he was appointed a global clinical advisor to Special Olympics International Healthy Athletes Special Smiles program. Special Smiles is the dental health discipline of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes that provides athletes with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to take charge of their oral health. Special Smiles provides comprehensive oral health care information, offers free dental screenings and instructions on correct brushing and flossing techniques to Special Olympics athletes. This also includes issuing preventative supplies, like toothpaste, toothbrushes and fluoride varnish.

Dr. Wong traveled to the Abu Dhabi to train local dentists for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games, which drew more than 7,000 athletes from 175 countries.

Dr. Wong earned his DDS and served his residency at Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry, where he is also Professor/ Director of Hospital Dentistry Program and Director AEGD Program at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. He is board certified in Special Care Dentistry and a fellow of the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Academy Dentistry International, American Association of Hospital Dentists.

The "Move to Include Award” is such a special award," said Dr. Wong, "because the Golisano Foundation represents excellence in recognition of accomplishment and an icon in promotion of IDD inclusion. I am honored to be in the company of those who have been recognized before me and their accomplishments."

"Special Olympics and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD) with all their amazing members has helped me to collaborate and help improve oral and overall health for all.  I admire the Golisano Foundation for all the great things they have done to create meaningful change in the healthcare arena and proud to be noticed.  This award was special for me as it was presented among people I deeply respect and cherish, particularly my friend Ann Costello and my mentor Dr. Steve Perlman.  

This marks the second Move to Include Award presented in 2019. The first was presented to Matt Holder, MD in May at the annual AADMD conference in Rochester, NY. See all honorees below.

Congratulations Dr. Wong, and thank you for demonstrating that inclusion should never be an afterthought.

Read about the Award

Interview with Different Brains


Previous Honorees of the Golisano Foundation Move to Include Award:
Matt Holder, MD, Founder of Lee Specialty Clinic, Global Medical Advisor for the Special Olympics, PastPpresident of American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry

Rick Rader, MD, Co-Founder, American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry and Director of the Morton J. Kent Habilitation Center at Orange Grove Center

Julie J. Christensen, PhD, LMSW, former Director of Employment Programs for the University of Rochester Medical Center, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities

Rick Guidotti, Founder and Director of Positive Exposure

Daniel M. Meyers, former CEO of Al Sigl Community

Martha Mock, PhD, Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Innovative Transition at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education

Joseph A. Ruffalo, CEO Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Shirley F. Szekeres, PhD, CCC-SLP, Director of the York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute at Nazareth College

About the Award - An Award that Challenges its Very Name
Written by Rick Rader, MD, Co-Founder, American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry

The Golisano Move to Include Award was established in 2015 and is given to those who both “believe” and “act” in the purest realm of the essence of “move to include.” It is given in the hope that the understanding of “include” can be elevated, promoted, ingrained and demonstrated at the highest levels of human behavior. 

Samuel Beckett, the novelist and poet observed, “Words are all we have.” If that is true then we need to be mindful of those we use.

The disability field is fond of the word “include,” believing it refers to society embracing and celebrating value in human diversity.  The reality is that the word is derived from the Latin word meaning “to shut in, enclose.” It can mean to “make room for,” “take into account,” “work in,” “accommodate,” and “admit.” All of which, does not describe the Golisano Foundation’s Move to Include Award. 

This Award is not given to individuals and organizations that strive to “fit people in,” and “make room” for people with intellectual disabilities. The Award is not intended to honor the movement to include people despite their disabilities; and certainly not because of their disabilities

The Golisano Move to Include Award was designed to demonstrate that inclusion should never be an afterthought, a “make room” effort or a “do over” effort in social justice. The Award points out that in our society there are individuals and organizations that understand that inclusion, true inclusion is not something that is created through a mission statement, a tagline or a bumper sticker. The Move to Include Award celebrates the “movement” - the arduous and tenacious movement  -  that strives to embrace people, not as an afterthought, and equally important to move the psyche of individuals, systems, communities and societies that will one day eliminate the need to offer awards noteworthy for succeeding in “allowing people; people with novelties” to be welcomed into the fold. 

We do not learn anything by simply “including,” “allowing,“ or “permitting” others to live and work alongside of us. We do not profit or grow by “accepting,” or even “welcoming” people with disabilities.

We, as a neighborhood, community and society learn, grow and profit by “believing” in the sanctity, value and merit of “together.” The essence of “together” transcends “inclusion.”  The Golisano Award belongs to those who believe that being together, not by mandate, statute or fiat; is the only way we can benefit from the joys, challenges and perspectives that “believing in being together” can be promoted and realized. 

Related Resources

Move to Include Awards

2019 AADMD Conference

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