Note: The following is copied from an article in ODA Today, Published in 2009, Titled: Dr. Ronald Stanich receives 2009 ODA Distinguished Dentist Award
Distinguished Dentist – Dr Ronald Stanich
The award was presented on Saturday, Aug. 29 at this year’s Callahan Celebration of Excellence, held in conjunction with the 143rd ODA Annual Session in Columbus, Ohio.
The nomination letter from the Stark County Dental Society read, “Ron has distinguished himself as a student, a teacher, a pilot, a commander, a community leader, a dentist, a family man, a friend and a patriot. Looking at his accomplishments reveals both the scope and depth of his many contributions to his profession, community, and country.”
The letter goes on to say Stanich’s passion for dentistry has influenced many in his career, and he is a mentor and role model to his professional colleagues.
“It is apparent that Ron has ‘distinguished’ himself among his dental colleagues,” the letter stated. “His integrity, ethics and professionalism are guiding principles in all he does. His commitment to these high values is the reason our great profession is held in such high esteem.”
On receiving the 2009 ODA Distinguished Dentist Award, Stanich said he is deeply honored and humbled.
“It is very humbling for me,” Stanich said. “It came as a total surprise. It is an overwhelming feeling. To be recognized by one’s peers is one of the most meaningful acknowledgements that a professional can receive.”
At the state level, Stanich has been one of two member dentists from the Stark County Dental Society to serve as ODA president. He currently serves on the ODPAC Board of Directors and the ODA Foundation Board of Trustees.
At the national level, Stanich has been a delegate to the American Dental Association House of Delegates, served on the ADA Government Affairs Reference Committee, served as chairman of the District 7 Committee on Legal and Legislative Affairs and has been involved in four ADA national campaigns.
Stanich has been honored with numerous awards, including the Distinguished Dental Service Academy of the Stark County Dental Society, Stark County Dental Society Emeritus Board Member, Fellowship in the American College of Dentists, Fellowship in the International College of Dentists, Fellowship in the Pierre Fauchard Academy, the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International, the US Jaycees Distinguished Service Award, the Canal Fulton Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Leader, and the United States Air Force Meritorious Service Medal. In 2006, Stanich was inducted into the first class of the Barberton High School Academic Hall of Fame, an honor he was extremely proud to have received.
“As a child I admired the work, skills, and professionalism of my family dentist” Stanich said.
Stanich liked to work with his hands and enjoyed interacting with people and thought dentistry seemed like a good fit.
Stanich graduated from the University of Akron in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education.
While in undergraduate school, he enrolled in the US Air Force ROTC program.
“When I grew up in the 1950s and attended the air shows in Cleveland, I was excited and fascinated by the US Air Force Thunderbirds who flew the F-100s, but I never dreamed that someday I would actually be flying them,” he said.
Stanich applied for dental school at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and was accepted in 1969; however, he deferred his admission in order to train as a pilot in the US Air Force. He also taught high school physics and chemistry during this time in Akron, Ohio.
In addition, Stanich served as a base dental surgeon and became Commander of the 179th Medical Group based in Mansfield, Ohio. He is the only dentist to be Commander of the Medical Group, which is a mobile military hospital with over 80 medical personnel. His most memorable experience was a humanitarian trip to Belize in 2002, where his unit treated over 6,000 patients during a two-week period.
Stanich also led the 179th Medical Group to the highest inspection rating in the Air National Guard at the same time he served as ODA President. An F-100 on display at the base in Mansfield bears his name on the cockpit in recognition of being the last pilot to retire from the base to fly the aircraft.
“I would have paid them to let me fly airplanes and be a dentist in the military,” Stanich said. “I had the privilege of being a pilot and also being a dentist at different times in my career. I am very lucky it all turned out the way it did.”
A Career of Service
Stanich believes dentistry is a wonderful profession, because private practice offers challenges along with the opportunity to work with patients and staff and to meet wonderful people.
“I have many patients who have been with our office since I opened my doors 37 years ago,” Stanich said. “They are like family to me.”
When it comes to serving in organized dentistry, Stanich said initially it was the people he looked upon as mentors who led him to get involved.
“For me, serving is a way of thanking the people who have helped me and a way to give back to dentistry,” he said. “Dentistry has given me many opportunities, and I love to serve. I really feel giving back is important and I am happy to do it.”
Stanich stressed the importance of giving back to the profession of dentistry.
“Only in serving can we keep our profession as wonderful as it is today,” he said. “I think it is important to protect our profession and its values.”
For Stanich, the greatest benefit of organized dentistry is the friendships formed and the experiences shared with colleagues.
“There are a lot of benefits of organized dentistry at the three levels of membership,” Stanich said. “For me, being part of an amazing group of colleagues is the best part.”
Stanich is particularly proud of having his brother, Dr. Kevin Stanich, who is 23 years his junior, follow his path in the military and dentistry. An especially proud moment for Stanich came when he was ODA President and gave a speech at the Convocation Ceremony to the OSU College of Dentistry senior dental students in 1999.
“Seeing my brother Kevin sitting there in that graduating class was a very moving and special moment for me,” he said.
In addition to Stanich’s military involvement, community service, private practice, and his service in organized dentistry, he is currently teaching at the Mercy Medical Center General Practice Residency program in Canton, Ohio, and teaching at the Stark State College of Technology Dental Hygiene School.
“I enjoy working with students and helping them learn and grow,” he said.
“I learn and grow from them. I enjoy the excitement of learning. I like sharing my knowledge with students and hope they can put some of the knowledge I pass on to them to good use.”
He is also an acting member of the Fine and Applied Arts Council at the University of Akron and is involved in the Honor Flight CAK.
Outside of Dentistry
While Stanich admits his free time is “pretty sparing”, when he does have spare time, he enjoys golfing, reading, fishing, and traveling.
Above all else, Stanich loves spending time with his family and friends, especially his daughter Sarah, who works as a dental hygienist in his practice, and his 6-year old grandson Landyn.
Stanich’s career has truly epitomized his commitment in service to his country, profession, community, and family.