CHICAGO — The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) is pleased to announce Dr. Linda C. Niessen, dean and professor of Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, as the recipient of this year’s Paragon Award. Dr. Niessen was presented the prestigious award during ASDA’s Annual Session in Orlando on Feb. 25, 2017.
The Paragon Award recognizes an individual who has significantly contributed to the advancement of the rights, interests and welfare of dental students throughout his or her career. It is the highest and most notable award given by ASDA.
“In three short years, Dr. Niessen has transformed the dental student experience at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine. Students are actively engaged in organized dentistry and committed to service and academic excellence. She inspires them to think critically about dentistry and seek opportunities for improvement and growth,” says Adam Saltz, Nova Southeastern ’17, ASDA editor in chief. “As a world-renowned lecturer on public health issues, Dr. Niessen gives voice to the inequalities that exist in the oral healthcare system for women and the elderly. I proudly consider her my dean, mentor and friend.”
Dr. Niessen has been active in dental organizations throughout her career. In the past, she served as president of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry (AAED), president of the American Association for Women Dentists (AAWD), president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) and president of the Dallas County Dental Society. Among her professional achievements, Dr. Niessen is also a member on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry. She joined the Nova Southeastern University faculty as dean and professor of the College of Dental Medicine in October 2013.
Dr. Niessen is a graduate of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (DMD), and received her public health degree (MPH) at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition, she earned a master's degree in public policy (MPP) from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
“It is an honor to receive the Paragon Award from the American Student Dental Association. This award is a tribute to all the faculty and mentors in my life who helped prepare me for a career in dental education,” Dr. Niessen remarked in her acceptance speech. “I thank the incredibly talented students, outstanding faculty and dedicated staff at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine for their support and my family for their encouragement throughout my dental career. I dedicate this award to all ASDA students with a hope that as you realize your potential as dentists, you pay it forward and consider dental education as part of your career plans.”
Dr. Niessen is the fifth recipient of ASDA’s Paragon Award, and the first female honoree. Past recipients include Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni (2011), Dr. Roger Triftshauser (2012), Dr. William Calnon (2015) and Dr. Gregory Chadwick (2016). More information on the Paragon Award is available at ASDAnet.org/paragon.
The American Student Dental Association is the largest national organization that protects and advances the rights, interests and welfare of dental students and predentals. Representing more than 90 percent of all dental students, ASDA introduces members to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and provides services, information, education, representation and advocacy. For more information, visit ASDAnet.org. Connect with ASDA on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.