Four members of the University of Florida College of Dentistry won 2014 Superior Accomplishment Awards: Censeri Abare, Stacy Buford, Pearl Harris and Scott Tomar.
Abare, Buford and Harris won an Administrative & Professional Award. Tomar was the sole winner at the Health Science Center of the Community Service Award. They will be honored along with other winners from Division 5, which encompasses the six health-related colleges, during an awards banquet at the Paramount Plaza Hotel on March 12.
The Superior Accomplishment Awards program recognizes faculty and staff who have shown efficiency or economy in their work, have contributed outstanding and meritorious service, or who have improved the quality of life provided to students and employees. Each winner was nominated by supervisors, peers and customers who wrote glowing letters of recommendation on their behalf.
Censeri Abare is an assistant director in the Office of Education who handles student records for all of the professional and graduate educational programs offered by the college. Her job responsibilities focus primarily on academic issues related to the D.M.D. program including registration, grade reporting and scheduling. Abare also coordinates major annual college events such as Commencement, New Student Orientation, the dental Professional White Coat Ceremony and Family & Friends Day.
“No matter how busy she is, she is always willing to lend a hand to assist others, is experienced in her job, and can be depended on to do whatever is needed to accomplish her goals or the goals of the entire office and college,” said Venita Sposetti, D.M.D., associate dean for education.
Sposetti, one of eight people who wrote letters of support for Abare’s nomination, also cited Abare as one of the college’s “go to” people on many topics and that she juggles multiple, complex tasks at once with ease and accuracy.
“She is a person who shapes the character of our organization with her excellence in all she does. In many ways, she is the image of our college to our dental students,” Sposetti said.
“When I was appointed as the assistant dean for admissions, Stacy had been through only one admissions cycle. However she is a master of attention to detail and organization, and was able to guide me through the learning process, essentially training me for my new position,” said Pam Sandow, D.M.D., assistant dean for admissions and financial affairs.
Sandow says that during her first year, the college also moved to a new paperless admissions process, “All of these changes could have crippled any admissions process however the transition was smooth because of Stacy’s ability to keep us on an even keel.”
In addition to managing an applications and selections process for 2,500 applicants, Buford oversees office functions and personnel, provides technical and professional support to the 24 members of the Admissions Committee, the Office of Student and Multicultural Affairs.
“There is little room for error in carrying out her duties. Stacy maintains a very thoughtful and fair approach to reviewing applications, and is so bright and observant that she picks up on important subtleties in applications and other documents that have to be reviewed,” Sandow said.
Pearl Harris joined the University of Florida in 1999 as a study coordinator. In 2007 she joined the college’s Dental Practice-Based Research Network as a regional coordinator 1 and was promoted to regional coordinator 2 in 2010.
Her primary responsibility is serving as an education and training coordinator for the college’s portion of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network which fits well with her education and background. Harris has an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, a bachelor’s degree in applied science in dental hygiene and us a certified clinical research professional.
Her job duties include serving as liaison between clinicians enrolled in the network and the network’s administration regarding matters related to the research programs, reviewing data submissions for accuracy, obtaining initial IRB approvals and assisting in protocol preparation for some aspects of the studies. Harris also serves as the “face” of the network by visiting involved clinicians to assist in implementing research programs and also assisting in training.
“Ms. Harris is extremely resourceful and routinely goes beyond her job assignments to assure that the network and the university missions are successful. She provides technical support in preparing lectures and presentations delivered at national and international forums, has been a lead author in more than 11 abstracts submitted to international meetings and a co-author in another 21 abstracts,” said Valeria Gordan, D.D.S., M.S., M.S.-Cl., professor and director for Dental Practice-Based Research.
Scott Tomar, D.M.D., M.P.H., Dr.PH., a professor in the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Sciences, joined the college in July 2000. He was nominated for the award for his tireless work in Alachua County to raise the profile of the need for oral health programs for children and adults in the community. He is credited with founding the Alachua County Oral Health Coalition in order to address the widespread problems of the local community in accessing oral health services.
The program guidelines state that nominees should have served as an inspiration to others through his or her persistent excellence either at the university or in the general community and shown a record of significant and sustained community service such as volunteering with charitable/nonprofit organization.
“Scott more than meets the criteria set forth for these awards. He goes above and beyond what is required for his job in just community service alone without taking into account his numerous teaching and research successes,” said Frank Catalanotto, D.M.D., professor and chair.
Tomar has served the department and college on countless committees, as chair of the Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science. He has served in the UF Faculty Senate, as a member of the University of Florida Libraries Committee, a member of the search committee for the Dean of the UF College of Nursing, and on the Public Health Advisory Committee of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. And he has also served the profession through leadership positions with the American Association of Public Health Dentistry Foundation, the American Public Health Association, the American Dental Association Public Health Advisory Committee, and served as an editor for the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice and BMC Oral Health.
Catalanotto says that although Tomar’s other service commitments are enough to earn him the award, “the real reason I nominated him is for his services to this community as the principal investigator for a $2.4 million grant from the Naples Children and Education Foundation to establish community-based outreach and dental prevention in Naples, Fla.; for his work as a member of the Alachua County Community Health Improvement Plan Steering Committee, for his membership on the School Health Committee of the School Board of Alachua County; for his membership of the Oral Health Leadership Council; as immediate past-president of the Congregation B’nai Israel; as a member of the UF Hillel Board of Directors; and especially for his incredible dedication chairing the Alachua County Health Coalition.
“The coalition is important because, those who are working on improving access to oral health care for all recognize the value of local, state and national coalitions in raising awareness of the importance of oral health, and in particular, oral health care disparities that leave many of our citizens with very poor oral health and subsequent complications of these oral health diseases,” Catalanotto said.
Congratulations to all of our winners. They will receive cash awards of $200 each, a framed certificate and a commemorative coffee mug, and will be considered for university-level awards, which offer eight $1,000 and six $2,000 cash prizes.