Honoring CDA’s Finest

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2018 CDA Award Recipients

CDA Exceptional Service Award: Dr. Justin Pearson
Dr. Justin Pearson served the CDA New Dentist Committee (NDC) as chair for the past two years. He has worked tirelessly alongside CDA Director of Membership Erica Carvin to bring new energy and life to this active section of the CDA. The NDC is comprised of dentists who are 10 years or less out of dental school. This group of 1,000 dentists is nearly one-third of the CDA membership and a vital group to mentor as future leaders in our profession.

During Dr. Pearson’s time as chair, the Colorado NDC has been organized into a team of over 20 dedicated individuals who work in small groups to put on over 20 events across the state each year. The team has raised nearly $91,000 in sponsorships in two and a half years. These sponsorships have helped the committee provide networking and social events, educational opportunities, an annual event to engage members with families, a digital resource guide for new dentists, mentoring opportunities for dental students, and the continuation of a one-of-a-kind practice transition workshop called “Speed Dating for Dentists.” In an effort to provide a sustainable future for the NDC, Dr. Pearson and his team have established an operations manual to aid in leadership succession, encourage sponsorship continuity, and champion an efficient process in running the committee year-to-year.

Dr. Pearson has served on the CDA Board of Trustees for two years. He has served as a delegate to the CDA House of Delegates for multiple years and has served as an alternate delegate to the ADA House of Delegates.

CDA Exceptional Leadership Award: Dr. Sheena Schoch
If you have ever crossed paths with Dr. Sheena Schoch, you know that her personality, drive, commitment and energy is one-of-a-kind.

Dr. Schoch joined the CDA Board of Trustees in 2014, bringing new enthusiasm and representation from the Western Colorado Dental Society. The trustees quickly learned that she is one of the future influencers of the dental profession.

In addition to being an officer and the trustee for the Western Colorado Dental Society, Dr. Schoch has given her time and talents to the CDA Finance Council, CDA Enterprises Board, CDA House of Delegates Credentials Committee and ADA House of Delegates as a new dentist Alternate Delegate. In these roles, Dr. Schoch’s infectious demeanor inspires others to become more actively engaged and invested in organized dentistry. In her local community, she has been actively involved with community water fluoridation efforts. She has earned tremendous respect in her community and across the state.

CDA Lifeboat Award: Dr. Kevin Sessa
Dr. Kevin Sessa is a dentist who, without hesitation, comes to the rescue of the CDA time and time again, year after year.

Dr. Sessa was the CDA president in 1999. He is no stranger to the CDA or the ADA. He has served as a member and volunteer of countless councils, committees and task forces over decades. Dr. Sessa served as CDA speaker of the house from 2006-2009 and CDA parliamentarian from 2015-2017. When our past speaker of the house, Dr. Dave Lurye, retired last year, Dr. Sessa was willing to complete Dr. Lurye’s term as speaker this year.

Dr. Sessa has spent decades serving patients in Boulder and teaching at the CU School of Dental Medicine. This summer, he officially retired and moved to Florida.

Dr. Sessa will be remembered in Colorado for his dedication to the profession, passion for organized dentistry and commitment to oral health.

CDA Foundation Scholarship Award: Austin Tyler
Since 2005, the CDA Foundation has been supporting a scholarship endowment that recognizes outstanding CU School of Dental Medicine students. This year, the CDA Foundation supported Austin Tyler with its scholarship. Austin will be a third-year dental student this fall and has already committed himself to bettering our profession and empowering his fellow students at CU.

He grew up and went to high school in Fort Collins, and then attended Brigham Young University. During his undergraduate years, he earned a degree in public health and then returned to Colorado to attend the CU School of Dental Medicine. He currently serves as the Colorado ASDA chapter president. This year, he is leading the Colorado chapter with a new vision for 2018: “to inspire students and faculty at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine to engage in organized dentistry by promoting a culture of wellness, unity and excellence.”

Austin also serves on the National ASDA Board of Trustees, where he represents all dental students from Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. In this esteemed leadership role, he is pushing Colorado’s example of licensure reform to the national spotlight. In addition to his role on the CDA Board of Trustees, Austin sits on the ASDA Council on Advocacy, where he promotes legislative efforts backed by ASDA’s policies.

Austin strongly believes that organized dentistry is the key to advancing the rights and interests of both students and dentists. The future is very bright with this incredible advocate, ambassador and leader representing dentistry.