Veronica M. Bikofsky, DMDNewark, 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.