The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) honored College of Dental Medicine Founding Dean James Koelbl, DDS, MS, MJ, with a Presidential Citation on Feb. 28, 2010 at the opening ceremony of the 2010 ADEA Annual Session and Exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Presidential Citations were given to nine leaders who demonstrated exceptional service to the association. Dr. Koelbl was nominated by ADEA President Ronald Hunt, DDS, MS, for, most notably, serving as chairman of the Legislative Advisory Committee and helping to formulate the association’s health care reform stance, said Jack Bresch, ADEA associate executive director and director of the Center for Public Policy and Advocacy.

Beginning in May 2007, the Legislative Advisory Committee formulated a public policy statement and several principles that ADEA would follow in pursuit of health care reform, Bresch said.

“This is recognition of his leadership in legislative activities and getting our association deeply involved in health care reform,” Bresch said.

Koelbl facilitated discussion within ADEA’s membership on the policy statement and principles. The ADEA House of Delegates ratified the policy statement in March 2009.

“Our statement is that oral health care has to be part of health care reform,” Bresch said. “We are engaged in the health care reform debate because we are providers. As with physicians, hospitals and nursing homes, we have a stake in the health care system.”

Dr. Koelbl continues to seek collaboration at the highest levels for the advancement of ADEA and dental education, according to ADEA.

ADEA has also developed principles for curriculum innovation, Koelbl said. As a newly developing program, the College of Dental Medicine can take these ideas and put them into practice to show what really works and what needs alterations.

“People in dental education are looking at the development of new dental schools as an opportunity to really advance dental education and, ultimately, the profession of dentistry,” Koelbl said. “When I received this award I really received it on behalf of a lot of people – ADEA, ADA, WesternU. I’m the point person.”