2014 Winners, Dr. Gesker & Dr. Blann

Two Role Models Honored with DOCS Education’s 2014 Sedation Dentist of the Year Award

A general dentist who treats children at a nonprofit center that serves immigrants and a pediatric dental specialist who works with the handicapped have been named co-recipients of the 2014 DOCS Education Sedation Dentist of the Year Award.

The annual honor recognizes dentists who exhibit outstanding commitment to safety and excellence. In conjunction with the 6th Annual Sedation Safety Week, March 17 to March 21, this year’s award places a special emphasis on dentists who care for children and adolescents.

This year’s co-winners are Dr. Richard Gesker, Chief Dental Officer of Dental Services at Mary’s Center in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Linda Blann, of Progressive Dental Care Center in Hannover, PA.

Dr. Richard Gesker & Dr. Linda Blann
Dr. Richard Gesker & Dr. Linda Blann

The Sedation Dentist of the Year awards and Sedation Safety Week are organized by DOCS Education, a continuing education and membership organization. DOCS Education is a pioneer and globally recognized leader in the training of oral health professionals in the effective application of sedation dentistry techniques and protocols.

Dr. Richard Gesker, a general dentist, was chosen due to his extensive, exceptional contributions to pediatric dentistry. These include his current job as the Chief Dental Officer and Director of Operations at the nonprofit Mary’s Center for Maternal & Child Care, Inc. Mary’s Center provides primary care and enabling services to underserved immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Dr. Gesker also is a member of the adjunct faculty of Temple University, Kornberg School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, PA.

His past accomplishments include serving as the director of Simply Beautiful Smiles of Doylestown, where he implemented a practice management and care delivery model designed to optimize oral health, customer service, and the efficient use of overhead in each of the company’s newly-acquired dental practices.

From 2003-2006, Dr. Gesker served as Lieutenant for the US Navy Dental Corps, during which he held a multitude of responsibilities, including work in Oral Diagnosis, Digital Radiography, Rotary Endodontics, Soft Tissue and Partial Bony Impactions, Fixed and Removable Prosthodontics, Posterior Composites, Cosmetics and Minor Orthodontics and sedative care.

Today, Dr. Gesker maintains the care delivery and management model for all administrative and clinical staff at Mary’s Center. He enjoys coordinating care between general dentists but especially likes to provide same-day, immediate care. His unusually comprehensive educational background includes attending both Temple University’s School of Dentistry and School of Business where he received both a DMD and an MBA, respectively.

Dr. Roger Sanger, a member of the DOCS Education faculty and lead instructor for Pediatric Sedation Dentistry, said of Dr. Gesker: “I commend Dr. Gesker for his commitment not only to children but to treating those children with the most modern pharmacotherapeutics available.”

Above all, Dr. Gesker routinely delivers high-quality dental care. His unwavering and longstanding commitment to excellence in pediatric dentistry made him a clear choice for the 2014 Sedation Dentist of the Year award.

For the first time since 2009, when DOCS Education began honoring a Sedation Dentist of the Year, the judging panel felt the contributions of two outstanding role models merited simultaneous recognition.

This year’s co-recipient, Dr. Linda Blann has provided patient care for children, adolescents, and the handicapped in the greater York and Adams County (Pennsylvania) region since 1992, and has been a pediatric specialist since 1996. She currently works at Progressive Dental Care Center in Hanover, PA—the practice she founded with her husband, Dr. Terry Gordon.

Dr. Blann is especially interested in providing pediatric specialty care for very young or very anxious children and special needs children requiring general anesthesia or sedation.

Certified in CPR, PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), Dr. Blann also holds a Pennsylvania Restricted I Sedation license to provide nitrous oxide as well as oral or IV sedation.

Dr. Blann’s background with children is not only extensive but comprehensive: prior to beginning her dental career, Dr. Blann spent more than a decade as a teacher of elementary and learning-disabled students.

In 1992, Dr. Blann received her Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She then completed her pediatric specialty training at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and received her Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry in 1996.

Keeping with her longstanding commitment to aid children, Dr. Blann traveled to the remote mountain villages of the Dominican Republic to care for both children and adults who rarely receive dental care.

Dr. Blann continues to improve her skills by taking more than 50 hours of continuing education per year. Her affiliations with professional organizations include the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the Pennsylvania Dental Association, the Pennsylvania Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and DOCS Education, in addition to others.

Founded in 1999, DOCS Education has consistently ranked patient safety and comfort as its top educational priorities. For the past six years, Sedation Safety Week (SSW) has provided dentists with tools, materials, and encouragement to review their process of patient selection, patient monitoring, staff training, staff drills, and emergency preparedness. SSW activities are always free and open to all oral health professions.