Dr. Karen Becerra Receives Golden Heart Award from San Diego County Dental Foundation

September 23, 2019

A Note from West Health’s President & CEO:

Over the weekend, Dr. Karen Becerra, CEO and Dental Director of the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center was awarded the Golden Heart Award during the San Diego County Dental Foundation’s annual gala. The award is given annually to a local practicing dentist who embodies the Foundation’s mission and commitment to increasing dental health education and programs throughout the San Diego community.

Karen has been a member of the West team since 2011 and was instrumental in leading our efforts in designing and launching a one-of-a-kind nonprofit community dental clinic in partnership with the Gary and Mary West Foundation and West Health. The Senior Dental Center opened in October 2016 inside Serving Seniors’ Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center that provides meals and supportive services for hundreds of low-income seniors daily. This innovative, integrated model of care is helping to stabilize and restore the oral health of hundreds of San Diego’s low-income seniors while also advancing our oral health research, policy and advocacy efforts.

Karen has been an active and passionate voice on the critical link between senior oral healthcare and overall health and well-being, where she has committed to increasing policymakers’ and the public’s awareness—both statewide and nationally—about the need for increased access to oral health services for vulnerable seniors, as well as viable policy options to achieve this goal.

For the past two years, Karen has worked closely with the Foundation and Gary and Mary West PACE teams to explore and build out North County’s first geriatric dental center, which will open its doors in San Marcos this October. The state-of-the-art facility will be co-located within the Gary and Mary West PACE, and will have four senior-friendly treatment rooms to offer person-centered and age-specific comprehensive oral healthcare services from an experienced oral health team specializing in geriatric dental services.

Karen, all of us at West are incredibly proud of you and your tremendous work. Your passion, dedication, professionalism and work ethic to advance our oral healthcare initiatives is felt well beyond the walls of West Health. Most importantly, thank you for the positive impact you’ve had on providing senior patients and their families with the high-quality services and education necessary to live happy, healthy lives.

  • – Shelley Lyford
  • President and CEO