Summit County dentist receives Ohio Dental Association Marvin Fisk Humanitarian Award

Dr. Jennifer Kale

Dr. Jennifer Kale is the 2022 recipient of the Ohio Dental Association Marvin Fisk Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Jennifer Kale is dedicated to providing care and guidance for the underserved community. In recognition of her efforts, she will receive the Ohio Dental Association Marvin Fisk Humanitarian Award on Friday, Sept. 16 at the Callahan Celebration of Excellence, held in conjunction with the 156th ODA Annual Session.

“Dr. Kale’s dedication to the dental profession and the at-risk patients she serves exemplifies the best of the best,” said Dr. Thomas Kelly, president of the ODA. “Dr. Kale is very active within her community of northeast Ohio and our profession and professional association. She has taken a hands-on approach in every leadership role, and presents an ever-positive and tireless effort to all of the commitments she accepts/is elected to. Dr. Kale is passionate about dental practice and public health issues and their effects on the dental community and is committed to having our profession be the leaders in areas of access to care.”

Kale earned her DDS degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry (now the School of Dental Medicine) in 1989. After 25 years in private practice, Kale had the opportunity to help build a new dental clinic at the Summit County Health Department in Akron. She has served as the Summit County Public Health dental director since 2015.

At the dental clinic, Kale serves a majority of patients who are on Medicaid and those on a reduced fee sliding scale. A few highlights of Kale’s service at the clinic include chairing the clinic’s Give Kids A Smile events, where they see children from Akron City Schools, and providing dental care through the Dress for Success Program’s initiative Smiles for Success to help women transition from welfare to work who could not afford dental care. The clinic also provides care to many refugees and participates in community health fairs and screenings.

In her private practice, Kale served as a Dental OPTIONS provider for 10 years. The program is a joint partnership between the ODA and the Ohio Department of Health that helps eligible, low-income uninsured adults in Ohio obtain access to dental care by linking them with volunteer dentists. Kale currently serves on the OPTIONS Steering Committee.

Kale is chair of the ODA Council on Access to Care, which she has served on for 12 years and chaired twice. She also serves as chair of the ODA Foundation and ODA Medicaid Working Group. She is a past president of the Greater Cleveland Dental Society and has served on and chaired many councils and committees with the Greater Cleveland Dental Society and ODA. She also serves on the Oral Health Ohio Board of Directors.

In addition to her role at the health department, Kale recently began serving as the dental director for the Buckeye Health Plan of Ohio, where she will work to guide the plan in a direction to help their members obtain and keep exceptional oral health.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Marvin Fisk Humanitarian award,” Kale said. “I was fortunate to have known Dr. Fisk through the Greater Cleveland Dental Society. His work for the community and those in need was inspiring and admirable. I feel privileged to receive the award named after such a distinguished leader.”

The Marvin Fisk Humanitarian Award is given to dentists who are working to improve the oral health of people in need, of all ages and from all walks of life. The award winners give of their time and energy overseas or closer to home, spending hours and personal resources to help fight illnesses.