Rouse Named Winner of 2020 ADA Distinguished Service Award

Dentistry Today


The ADA honored Leo E. Rouse, DDS, with its Distinguished Service Award during the ADA FDC Virtual Connect Conference 2020, a joint meeting of the ADA and Florida Dental Association. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor given by the ADA Board of Trustees.

“Dentistry and patients are important to me because I am committed to ensuring that oral health is fully integrated to systemic health,” said Rouse. “I am a champion of interprofessional education and collaborative practice.”

Rouse began his dental career with a degree from the Howard University College of Dentistry and transitioned to serving a quarter of a century in the US Army as a military dentist and leader.

While in the Army, Rouse was promoted to commander and chief operating officer of the US Army Dental Command, where he ensured the oral and overall health of more than 4,000 personnel including officers, enlisted soldiers, and civilians.

Rouse then shifted to academia as a faculty member in the dental science division at the Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he eventually served as chief of the division.

From there, Rouse returned to Howard University, where he became dean of the Howard University College of Dentistry. Because of his work in academia, Rouse was recruited by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).

Previously, Rouse was a senior scholar in residence, liaison to the council of deans, chair of the ADEA Gies Foundation Board of Directors, and board president at ADEA. He currently is an ADEA consultant and will assume the role of president of the American College of Dentists this month.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am proud to present the ADA’s Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Leo Rouse,” said ADA immediate past president Chad P. Gehani, DDS.

“On top of being the first African-American board president of the ADEA, he was commander of the US Army Dental Command, becoming its first African-American leader, educating and inspiring thousands of American dentists to serve their country and communities,” Gehani said.

Rouse said he is honored to receive the ADA Distinguished Service Award.

“It’s been a wonderful life,” Rouse said.

“I love being a dentist because in my professional career, I have been fortunate to work in an environment that improves the overall health of patients in a military, civilian, and academic setting,” he said.

“I have also been blessed as an educator to help influence the next generation of dentists in their contributions to improve the overall health of patients,” he said.

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