Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Major Tappan

Kelsey Creehan Featured News

Originally published by Denver Health

These pictures were taken at the original Eastside Health Center located at 2900 Welton St. in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The dentist is Dr. Major Tappan. In 1967 Dr. Tappan became the director of Dental Services at Denver Health & Hospitals and served as the director of Community Dental Services from 1968–1994.

Dr. Tappan received his undergraduate and dental degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He earned a Masters of Public Health degree from Columbia University School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine. In 1974, Dr. Tappan became board-certified in Dental Public Health. Dr. Tappan was a tireless patient advocate and public health dentist whose primary goal has been to prevent oral disease and improve access to oral health for those most in need. He made many contributions to improving the oral health of America’s communities and was known for directing, supporting and promoting exemplary community oral health programs. A former Job Corps consultant, he was executive director of the Total Oral Prevention Strategies (TOPS) program, which provided oral health services for underserved children and families in the Denver metro area.

Over the years, Dr. Tappan received numerous awards including the Myron Allukian Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contributions in Community Dental Programs from the American Association for Community Dental Programs in 2007. In 2008, the CDA honored Dr. Tappan on Give Kids a Smile Day with the Exceptional Service Award for his progressive vision and selfless dedication to children and the community. He was awarded with an over sized toothbrush with a bronze plate handmade by Dr. Paul Bottone.