American Friends of Shalva recognized Steven W. Kess, vice president of global professional relations at Henry Schein and president of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, with its Spirit of Hope Award at its 29th Anniversary Gala Dinner on March 6 in New York City.
Kess was honored for his role as a partner in establishing the Oral Health for Everyone (OHEV) program at the Shalva National Center in Israel, one of the largest and most advanced centers for disability care and inclusion in the Middle East.
Shalva, the Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, provides services for 2,000 individuals from infancy through adulthood and their families regardless of their religion, ethnic background, or financial capability.
OHEV systematically integrates oral healthcare and education into the rehabilitative programs and developmental goals of children with disabilities. It uses a unique, preventive approach with specially trained staff and the state of the art Henry Schein Cares Oral Health Clinic.
Accessible to those with disabilities, the clinic provides oral health checkups, fluoride varnish treatments, personal guidance, and education, to 400 children each year. It also hosts dentistry students from around the world and serves as an international model for medical and disability care institutions.
“Working with Steve to develop the OHEV program and our continued partnership over the years has been a most inspirational experience,” said Kalman Samuels, founder and president of the Shalva organization. “You quickly learn that his celebrated professional achievements pale in comparison to his care and compassion for others.”
Kess and Samuels both are members of the Project Accessible Oral Health Alliance. Kess has served as a member of the Shalva organization’s OHEV professional board since the program’s inception in 2014 and instrumentally escorted its development and establishment in 2017.
“Steve’s leadership of Henry Schein Cares’ partnership with Shalva to develop the Oral Health for Everyone program is just the latest example of countless innovative partnerships he has forged throughout his career to advance worthy goals, in this case providing transformative care for individuals with disabilities, empowering their families, and promoting social inclusion,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein.
“Steve continues to build on Henry Schein’s commitment to expand access to care for people with special needs by improving health literacy, expanding geographic coverage, increasing cultural competency, and addressing the financial and reimbursement rates for special needs care,” Bergman said. “On behalf of more than 18,000 Team Schein members, we salute him.”