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Dimensions of Dental Hygiene Esther Wilkins Award Event 2013

Visionary Leaders Honored with The Esther Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award

From left: Devan Darby, MD, who accepted The Esther Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award for her mother Michele Leonardi Darby, BSDH, MS; Esther M. Wilkins, BS, RDH, DMD; and Barbara Heckman, RDH, MS, and Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS, who accepted for Margaret "Peg" Walsh, RDH, MS, MA, EdD.

Two distinguished leaders in the field of dental hygiene were recently recognized for their contributions to the profession. Michele Leonardi Darby, BSDH, MS, and Margaret "Peg" Walsh, RDH, MS, MA, EdD, received The Esther Wilkins Lifetime Achievement Award at a June 21 reception during the American Dental Hygienists' Association's (ADHA) 90th Annual Session in Boston. The award, presented by Dimensions of Dental Hygiene and sponsored by Colgate, is founded on the values embodied by Esther M. Wilkins, BS, RDH, DMD, known as the "matriarch of dental hygiene."

The event began with welcoming remarks by Lorene Kent, RDH, BA, publisher of Dimensions, and Kristen Pratt Machado, executive editor of Dimensions, followed by an introduction from Phyllis A. Martina, RDH, BS, MBA, senior academic relations manager at Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals. The 2013 award was presented by Wilkins and Jill Rethman, RDH, BA, editor in chief of Dimensions. Both acknowledged the enduring contributions of Darby and Walsh.

Although neither winner was able to attend the event, each let her presence be known. Darby's daughter, Devan Darby, MD, received the award on her mother's behalf and spoke of her important role in the field and her gratitude for this recognition. Walsh's colleagues, Barbara Heckman, RDH, MS, of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS, of Idaho State University, accepted the honor for Walsh, and they shared her thoughts on the future of dental hygiene, particularly the need for a doctoral level of education in the field.

In addition to being recognized leaders in dental hygiene education, Darby and Walsh are co-authors of the textbook Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice, which is nearing its fourth edition. Recently retired, Darby is an eminent scholar, professor emerita, and former chair at the Gene W. Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. Walsh is a professor in the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences and director of the graduate dental hygiene program at the UCSF School of Dentistry.