John P. Rossetti, D.D.S, M.P.H., was selected to receive posthumously the Vince Hutchins Leadership Award from the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), which honors an individual’s leadership in promoting a society responsive to the needs of women, children, adolescents, and families. The award was presented on Monday, February 13, 2012, during AMCHP’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.
In 1989, Dr. Rossetti began working at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as chief dental officer for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Throughout the 1990s, his leadership helped guide strategic planning, implementation, coordination, and evaluation of HRSA’s oral health programs, especially within MCHB. Through his efforts, many state oral health programs began collecting data on oral health status as a component of the required Title V statewide comprehensive needs assessment. Thus, state oral health programs document the need for and promote statewide oral health initiatives and priorities.
In addition, Dr. Rossetti's efforts led to the sponsorship of national meetings such as the National Oral Health Conference; convening of numerous national, regional, and state oral health conferences; and the creation of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center and the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Policy Center. Dr. Rossetti provided leadership to develop the HRSA/Health Care Financing Administration (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Oral Health Initiative, which developed a national strategy to increase access to oral health services for children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He contributed to the development of numerous initiatives and publications and to improvement of oral health and ultimately overall health through MCHB-funded community water fluoridation projects, school-based sealant programs, re-establishment of state oral health infrastructure, and state oral health program reviews. Each of these efforts has had national impact, including consensus building through collaborations; technical assistance encompassing broad strategies applied at the national, state, or community level; and empowerment allowing states and communities to effect change particular to their needs and resources.
Dr. Rossetti was an amazing leader and did so much for so many, especially for vulnerable populations. He passed away on August 9, 2011, but is remembered as a strong advocate and a catalyst for action to improve oral health and overall health and well-being for the MCH population. To read more about Dr. Rossetti, go to http://www.mchoralhealth.org/rossetti.html.