The late Dr Gerald Leatherman played a very important part in promoting the role of the dental hygienist as one of the pioneers of preventive dentistry in the UK. Described as ‘The Father of World Dentistry’ by Dame Margaret Seward, he dedicated his professional life to raising the profile of both the dental hygienist and dental health promotion. He was actively involved with the British Dental Hygienists' Association (now BSDHT) from the start and played a leading role in the establishment of the first dental hygiene training school in England. Following his retirement from the office of President of the BDHA in 1957 he was appointed Honorary Vice President until his death in 1991.
It was during his early professional years, when he was working in the United States, that he first experienced the 'new profession' of the dental hygienist and oral health clinics. Being the great visionary he was, Dr Leatherman could see the potential benefits of such a group of auxiliaries. He brought his ideas back to the UK and began the crusade with like-minded colleagues which led to the recognition of the dental hygienist as an integral member of the dental team.
In order to recognise the work and support of Dr Leatherman, the 'Dr Gerald Leatherman Award' was established in 1994 to perpetuate and honour the name of this great man.
The Dr Leatherman award is held in the highest regard by our profession. It is the only award nominated and agreed upon by your peers. It reflects true dedication, professionalism and determination for the greater good of all the profession. Nominees do not have to be high profile; in fact past winners have ranged from those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to those who laid the foundations for the society we know today. This prestigious award can be given to any individual, who has shown consistent support of the profession or to the BSDHT.
The Award is in the form of a lapel pin bearing the words: 'Dr Leatherman Award' and a certificate to commemorate the date that the presentation was made.