Health and Family Services Cabinet
James Cecil earns distinguished service award
James Curtis Cecil III, D.M.D., M.P.H., recently received the prestigious John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health from the American Public Health Association.
The APHA Oral Health Section presents the award based on nominations received and reviewed annually by the awards committee.
A long-time public health professional, Cecil has served as the administrator of the state Oral Health Program at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services since January 2001 and was a consultant to the Department of Medicaid Services until July 2005.
“This award demonstrates what a tremendous asset James Cecil is to the Cabinet as well as the commonwealth,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner of the Department for Public Health. “The John W. Knutson Award is a great honor received by only a select group of talented, dedicated dental health professionals. We are delighted to see Dr. Cecil take his rightful place among them.”
Prior to his appointment at CHFS, Cecil was and remains a faculty member in the Division of Dental Public Health, Department of Oral Health Science in the College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky. Until January 2000, Cecil had served as dental director of Kentucky Health Select, a provider-governed managed care organization that conducted the Medicaid program in 23 central Kentucky counties as part of Kentucky’s 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver project.
Cecil also served as the dental director for a federally funded migrant health center developed by the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center and UK Dental Care, a voluntary self-insured dental plan for the university faculty and staff formed by the College of Dentistry. Cecil is an associate of the Kentucky School of Public Health and the UK College of Allied Health Professions.
A native of eastern Jefferson County, Dr. Cecil grew up on a farm near Pewee Valley. In 1966, he received his undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University and obtained his doctor of dental medicine degree from UK in 1970. He practiced family dentistry in Lancaster from 1972-73.
Cecil obtained a master of public health (M.P.H.) from the University of Michigan in 1976 and studied oral epidemiology at the University of Michigan. He joined the faculty at the UK College of Dentistry in 1996 after completing a distinguished career in the Navy.
Cecil is a fellow of the International College of Dentists; a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, an honorary dental organization; a fellow in the American College of Dentists; and a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. He also is an active member in national and international dental, public health, health research and community organizations.
Cecil and his wife, Betty Sue, are the parents of Daniel Cecil of Lexington and Courtney Wachtel of Chicago, and the grandparents of Carter James Wachtel, also of Chicago. The Cecils make their home in Lexington.
The award’s namesake, John W. Knutson, was the first dentist to serve as president of the APHA. He made seminal contributions to the understanding and implementation of the role of dental health and dentistry in public health.