New York University’s College of Dentistry honored Marco Damiani, CEO of AHRC New York City, with its David B. Kriser Medal, the college’s highest form of recognition at the school’s 2019 graduation ceremony. Damiani was awarded the medal for “his extraordinary wisdom, counsel, and guidance throughout every phase of the planning and design of the NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities.”
“It is truly a remarkable day when you receive an award for just doing your job!” Damiani said in his remarks at the ceremony recently. “When I first had the great fortune to meet with the leadership at the NYU College of Dentistry, I quickly saw and felt the passion, professionalism, commitment, and vision for not just providing a world-class dental education, but also for playing a part in creating a better world – in particular a better world for people who are perceived by society as ‘different.’”
Throughout his career, Damiani has been steadfast in his commitment to finding innovative ways for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to build full, healthy lives as defined by each person with support from dedicated families, staff, and community partners.
The NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities has a number of innovations that set it apart. It is equipped with two sedation suites staffed by anesthesiologists, reducing the need for hospital referrals. It contains a multisensory room for those who may experience overstimulation or anxiety during a dental visit. The center offers a full range of dental services provided by highly experienced and engaged faculty, and a service vision that underscores dignity, respect, safety, and coordination of care.
Damiani encouraged graduates to meet the ideals that helped build the oral health center. “While a core commitment at NYU Dentistry is to provide the best possible education, there is more at work here: striving to disrupt the cycle of low expectations,” he said. “The low expectations of some providers and even academic institutions that are comfortable either shunning or making token efforts to serve people with disabilities, when they should instead embrace the opportunity to broaden their clinical and academic perspectives and impact on these individuals. You can make a difference by disrupting the cycle of low expectations.”
“Marco Damiani has led the way in providing innovative services for the intellectual and/or developmental disabilities community,” said Charles N. Bertolami, DDS, DMedSc, Herman Robert Fox Dean of the NYU College of Dentistry. “It has been a privilege for all of us at NYU Dentistry to collaborate with him on behalf of expanded access to quality oral healthcare for people with disabilities, and it is our privilege to honor him for distinguished contributions to improved health and well-being for this large and especially vulnerable segment of our population.”
Damiani was recognized along with Larry McReynolds, Executive Director of Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, who was also instrumental in the creation of the NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities.
Damiani concluded his remarks by encouraging the graduates to “always do more than what is expected, especially for those not as fortunate as you. Difference is the only thing we all have in common. Difference matters. Make a difference.”
Dylan Watton is Communications Coordinator at AHRC New York City.