(Dr. Dan Doyle receiving his award from Dr. Carl Tegtmeier of the Ninth District Dental Association)
On March 9th, Dr. Dan Doyle received the 2016 Dr. Richard G. Spolzino Access to Care Humanitarian Award from the Ninth District Dental Society. Here is an article by Dr. Jeff Stein about the award and Dr. Doyle’s local and international volunteer work:
A humanitarian is a person who seeks to promote human welfare. This year’s recipient of the Dr. Richard G. Spolzino Access to Care Humanitarian Award is a shining jewel amongst us, Dr. Dan Doyle. A salt-of-the-earth type that has led a life and a professional career of purpose and meaning. An individual who sees vast needs, knows he can’t fix everything, but by providing over three decades of service in caring locally and abroad, begins the repairs. Dr. Doyle is simply an extraordinary person who feels he’s doing what he is, “supposed to be doing, focusing on action not words. I much rather do than just talk about it.” There is no better example within the Ninth of how one individual can have an impact.
Commitment being an act not a word began for Dan as a teenager volunteering for the Brewster Fire Department and Ambulance Corps, continuing the volunteering legacy of his father and grandfather. Following his graduation as Valedictorian from Fairleigh Dickinson School of Dentistry, he joined Dr. George Dickinson in private practice in Carmel and Patterson in 1980. He immediately connected with the Putnam County Dental Society (PCDS), where he has held all leadership positions including the Presidency multiple times for multiple years. Dr. Doyle has represented Putnam County on the Ninth Board of Governors.
His involvement within the community at large began with coaching soccer, basketball, and baseball teams of his four sons Patrick, Dennis, Ryan and Matthew which continued for twenty years. In 1988, he was appointed to the Putnam County Board of Health where he has served as President since 2003. Under his leadership, Putnam was one of the first counties in New York to invoke smoking ban regulations prior to it becoming state law. A significant public health milestone close to the heart of all in dentistry.
In 2009, Dr. Doyle, in conjunction with Dr. Rick MacRae spearheaded a unique collaboration between the Board of Health, the PCDS, and the school districts to institute a School Dental Screening initiative. Typically six to eight schools are visited annually, with all of the schools having participated since the program’s inception. This initiative heightens oral health awareness and provides a dental home for children in need. Through the PCDS, many clinicians had volunteered either as screeners or provide care on a reduced cost basis. Dr. Doyle has treated a number of these children gratis.
Dr. Doyle has embarked and engaged the children of Putnam on the athletic fields and in the classroom. Since 1988, he annually provided a dental health program to kindergarten classes at three elementary schools and nursery schools throughout the county upon request. The torch was passed for this program to the next generation when his son Dennis and daughter-in-law Romina joined the practice.
Dan has always wanted to pursue other opportunities to serve those in need, but was frustrated by the time limitations balancing his office and other public health commitments. Romina and Dennis joining the practice, along with his wife Karen serving as the “CFO of Doyle Dental,” freed him up to pursue his volunteerism passion.
After several years of prodding from his cousin, Dr. Phil Doyle, a dentist in Norwalk, Dan now for the fourth year will set out from his home harbors to provide care in Haiti. The Haitian Health Foundation, started by Dr. Jerry Lowney, a Norwalk orthodontist, provides basic medical and dental care in Jeremie, Haiti, “the poorest city in the poorest country in our hemisphere.” There is a health center, but Dan and Phil set out in their four-wheel drive into the villages. Under palm trees and thatched roofs with no power, no lights, no x-rays and no hand-pieces just headlights and hand instruments, they perform serial extractions for a week annually. The poverty and gaping holes in care has brought him to tears, as you’d expect from an empathetic man who continues to do what he can confronting such overwhelming challenges.
Dr. Doyle is enormously grateful to the PCDS, “they have been great, wonderfully supportive of all my endeavors. I tell them what I need and they come up with the money, which has included a mobile dental chair, a suction unit and supplies which other Ninth members have also helped with.” Dan is enthusiastic, charismatic, pragmatic and driven. He is a formidable advocate for his most recent cause, Haiti Happy House. Once again the PCDS has answered the call, raising $1,250 for construction of a Happy House.
Housing in Jeremie, Haiti is often primitive. Dirt floors, straw roofs, no windows and a sheet for a door are not uncommon in the rural villages. A Happy House has a cement floor, corrugated steel roof, window cut outs and a real door. The $1,250 buys the building materials from local businesses, and provides for local employment and a new home.
Dan has not forgotten the needs at home volunteering for New York’s Mission of Mercy, Special Olympics–Special Smiles, and as an active participant in Dental Lifeline (formally Donated Dental Services). He continues to be a Eucharistic minister at St. James the Apostle Church as was well as a member of the Putnam County Medical Reserve Corps.
We are all in a helping profession. We make our livelihood by helping others. Dr. Doyle has made it his life. A purposeful life resolved to use his time well doing good deeds. Thank you for your exceptional contribution of service and compassion that inspires us all. Congratulations to our Spolzino Humanitarian Access to Care Award recipient, Dr. Dan Doyle.