Dr. Michael Milano, clinical associate professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, was recently named a recipient of the Golisano Health Leadership Award by Special Olympics North Carolina. He is one of 32 individuals/organizations worldwide to receive this honor in 2016.
“Special Olympics does a fantastic job of bridging the gap between the medical community and people with intellectual disabilities, a population that, despite severe need and higher health risks, is often denied health care. To work with Special Olympics, the largest global public health organization dedicated to serving people with intellectual disabilities, to improve athlete health is a great honor and I hope others are inspired to join the movement,” said Milano.
This award recognizes individuals and organizations who make a significant contribution to equal access to health, fitness and wellness for people with intellectual disabilities. Milano received the award during the Opening Ceremonies at the Special Olympics North Carolina Fall Tournament in High Point, N.C. The following day, Milano and other volunteers provided free dental exams, oral hygiene instruction and mouth guards to more than 150 Special Olympics athletes.
Milano, a longtime member of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, has been dedicated to serving the community for many years. He’s a past faculty advisor for the school’s Give Kids a Smile Day, during which students annually provide roughly $5,000 in pro bono dental care to Durham-area children. His work to advance the health status of individuals with intellectual disabilities has led him to serve on multiple committees and advisory groups as well as teaching continuing education courses about providing dental care to patients with disabilities. He has also conducted and published research in peer-reviewed journals on such topics as dental students’ attitudes regarding treating patients with intellectual disabilities, barriers to dental care for patients with intellectual disabilities and the unmet dental needs of individuals with autism.
The Golisano Award is named for Tom Golisano who, through the Golisano Foundation and his company, Paychex, has committed more than $37 million since 2012 to Special Olympics. Recipients of the award are eligible to be one of seven recognized globally for this honor.