Newark, N.J.—Veronica M. Bikofsky, DMD, a dentist at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center who has devoted a portion of her career to providing dental care to indigent special needs patients, has been honored with the prestigious Jefferson Award for Public Service. Dr. Bikofsky is the full time Directing Partner of the Beth Dental Group.
The Jefferson Awards, established in 1972 to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service, are a prestigious recognition, akin to a Nobel Prize for community service, presented on both the local and national level. The local winners are “unsung heroes” – ordinary individuals who are performing extraordinary deeds, without expectation of recognition or reward. A panel of judges from The Star-Ledger of Newark, among the 150 Media Partners for the Jefferson Awards across the country, selected Dr. Bikofsky from an extensive group of contenders. This initiative of newspapers, television and radio stations heralding local heroes is the nation’s largest media partnership fostering volunteerism.
Dr. Bikofsky was nominated for “her uncommon acts on behalf of the common good,” citing her extraordinary efforts, compassion and time commitment to patients. The nomination stated, “Whether a patient’s special care need is due to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease or any one of various handicaps, Dr. Bikofsky is at the forefront for these patients at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.” Since 1980, Dr. Bikofsky has devoted one half day a week out of her private practice – roughly equivalent to three full years of service – to treat underserved special needs patients who require dental care under general anesthesia or sedation in the hospital operating room. For patients on public assistance she receives the equivalent of 15 cents on the dollar compared to customary dental fees. “These patients are special,” comments Dr. Bikofsky, “and it is my privilege to serve them.”
In addition to providing direct care, Dr. Bikofsky has been an active volunteer and advocate for the handicapped for over 20 years, serving as a trustee for the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped. Through this activism, Dr. Bikofsky cultivated and worked to maintain the New Jersey mobile dental van program, and worked to acquire funding to compensate dentists adequately so they would be willing to serve handicapped adults and children at regional sites throughout the state.
The Jefferson Awards were established through the American Institute for Public Service, a public foundation founded by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr., and Sam Beard who has dedicated his working life to public service and has initiated programs for the last seven Presidents of the United States.
A ceremony honoring the Jefferson Award winners from New Jersey will be held on Tuesday, June 3 at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, NJ.
About Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, a 673-bed regional care, teaching hospital established in 1901, provides comprehensive health care services to its local communities and is a major referral and treatment center for patients throughout the northern New Jersey metropolitan area. The Medical Center has New Jersey's most comprehensive Robotic Surgery Center; the State's first accredited Sleep Disorders Center; one of the largest electrophysiology programs in New Jersey; kidney transplantation; the largest hospital-based dental program in New Jersey and The Saint Barnabas Heart Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, which offers the best in adult and pediatric cardiology services and cardiac surgery programs. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center is also home to Children's Hospital of New Jersey, the state's premier children's health facility; Children's Hospital provides state-of-the-art care in nearly 30 pediatric subspecialties. Treating ill and injured children from newborn to adolescent years, Children's Hospital also initiates preventive programs that promote wellness in the community.
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