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News Release

2009 Community Health Leadership Award and $50,000 Grant

Awarded by St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities

HOUSTON (October 13, 2009) - Mark Nichols, DDS, has been named recipient of the 2009 Community Health Leadership Award by St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities.  Dr. Nichols is being honored for his leadership in developing safety and treatment protocols resulting in the safe provision of life-altering dental services to HIV/AIDS clients around the world.  Dr. Nichol’s will be recognized at a special awards dinner on October 13.

Dr. Nichols has dedicated his career to providing dental care to HIV/AIDS patients who would otherwise not have access to dental services. Dr. Nichols’ community health leadership began when he started volunteering at Bering Dental Clinic one day per week in 1987. He is now vice president for clinical affairs of Bering Omega Community Services and continues to provide 24,000 services to more than 2,400 clients each year.

Dr. Nichols has become internationally recognized as an expert in HIV-specific dentistry and trains other dentists across the globe - United States, Africa, China, India and South America - who seek to join his efforts. Many of the safety and clinical treatment protocols implemented by Dr. Nichols and his fellow volunteers and colleagues are considered best practices and are still in use today.

“Through the efforts of Dr. Nichols and the Bering Omega Dental Clinic, the underserved people with HIV/AIDS are receiving life-saving oral healthcare,” said The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Ninth Bishop of Texas, Episcopal Diocese of Texas and board chair, St. Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities. “His commitment and dedication inspires us all.”

As part of Dr. Nichols’ recognition, a gift of $50,000 will be presented to Bering Omega Community Services. The special awards dinner also will feature a retrospective highlighting four previous award recipients including Denver Harbor Clinic’s Daniel Montez, recently retired Urban Harvest founder Bob Randall, Ph.D., Casa De Esperanza de los Ninos’ Bill Jones and The Rose’s Dorothy Weston Gibbons.  Watch the video.

The St Luke’s Episcopal Health Charities, a supporting 501(c)3 of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System, conducts research and distributes grants to provide community health services to the underserved and motivates others to join in these efforts. Now in its fifth year, the Community Health Leadership Award was created to honor the not fully recognized efforts of one outstanding nonprofit community health leader who is motivated to use their knowledge and skills to reach out and advance community health in body, mind and spirit.

Photo credit: Alexander's Fine Portraits

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