Tanaka Humanitarian Award
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Terry Tanaka Student Humanitarian Award

The Terry Tanaka Award was created in honour of Dr. Terry Tanaka, a past president of the Academy. Dr. Tanaka's outstanding and magnanimous contributions to educational and humanitarian projects in local service and developing countries have been a shining example for the dental fraternity and the Academy.  The award is conferred on a dental student who best exemplifies the charitable and humanitarian spirit of Dr. Tanaka. The award is given to one senior dental student each year in recognition of their outstanding exemplary volunteer services during their prior three years in dental school.




Loma Linda University School of Dentistry
2017 Terry Tanaka Humanitarian Awardee


Tanaka Student Humanitarian Recipients

Student doctor, Kyle Leis of Loma Linda University is the winner of the 2017 Dr. Terry Tanaka Student Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Dentistry International.  Kyle began volunteering years before entering dental school when he met Dr. Mark Carpenter, a LLU faculty member.  He had the opportunity as a young college student to "shadow" Dr. Carpenter in his private office and at the weekly free clinic where Dr. Carpenter went after his practice hours. Kyle later volunteered at this location where he learned to assist at the chair, took x-rays, and even established the OSHA protocols for instrument sterilization for the free clinic.  Later in his pre-dental days, he went on several field mission trips to Nicaragua with Dr. Carpenter and was a valuable member of the LLU team.  After Kyle returned, he continued his work with the LLU team. 
During dental school, he was part of the core group of students who worked to transition the school's Free Compassion  Clinic to a new location, attending weekly to set up, sterilize and even sweep the floors at the end of the day. 
At the beginning of dental school in the fall of 2014, Kyle was selected to serve his class as the clinic vice-president.  Although he was very busy with his class studies, he continued to serve at the New Hope Free Clinic and assemble and schedule his classmates as volunteers.  He also approached the leader of the service club of the LLU School of Pharmacy to explore the option of utilizing the services of pharmacy students to provide vaccinations, bone density scans, and dietary counseling to the dental patients of the clinic.  
In addition to his previous trips to Nicaragua, Kyle helps plan, pack, and train his fellow students on how to operate and repair their equipment when if it breaks down while on location. He continues to return each year to Managua, Nicaragua and the other outlying cities.  Not only has he performed well throughout his academic and clinical training, he has recorded well over 800 hours of community and field mission trip hours.  
As Irmgart Mitchell, the Director of Student Services at Loma Linda University states, "Kyle has such a sensitive heart for others.  There is no doubt that he will continue to serve beyond dental school and will continue to seek opportunities to help others and encourage other dental and medical professionals to do so as well." 
Sometimes it takes a thoughtful and caring doctor like Dr. Mark Carpenter to remind us what an opportunity it is for us as individuals and the profession when asked to serve as ambassadors and to allow a dental student to "shadow" us in our busy offices.  
On behalf of all the members of the Academy of Dentistry International and their guests present this evening, I am honored to present this year's ADI Tanaka Student Humanitarian award to senior student doctor Kyle Leis of Loma Linda University.



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