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On Thursday night, Bob Soparkar, BDS, DMD, was recognized by the Massachusetts science community for his significant contributions to global oral health and advocacy on behalf of children.

For thirty years, Soparkar has worked to bring comprehensive oral health care and education to Kuwait. Forging a collaboration between the Forsyth Institute and the Kuwait government in 1982, Soparkar and his colleagues established a program that today provides education, prevention and treatment to almost 270,000 Kuwaiti school children each year. The program is recognized as a model initiative by the World Health Organization.

“There is nothing more important than providing children with a healthy upbringing, free from painful conditions such as tooth decay which are entirely preventable,” said Soparkar.  “I find it incredibly rewarding to see those children grow up and pass on healthy values to a new generation, and it would not have been possible without the support of my colleagues, both here in Boston and in Kuwait.”

The honor was presented to Soparkar by Phil Stashenko, president of the Forsyth Institute, at Forsyth’s annual ‘A Taste & A Toast’ fundraiser on June 4. Stashenko recognized the impact of his colleague’s work in Kuwait, as well as Soparkar’s 50-year tenure in the Department of Applied Oral Sciences at Forsyth. He first came to Forsyth as an intern in 1951, stayed on as a research fellow from ’52-’54, and returned to Forsyth permanently in 1962.

“Bob has made priceless contributions to oral health research and prevention across the globe over the last five decades,” said Stashenko. “The Forsyth Institute is proud to recognize his lifelong dedication to advancing the awareness and understanding of oral diseases and their connections to overall wellness.”

Now in his eighties, Soparkar continues his work as Assistant Director of Clinical Investigation, studying oral diseases as well as public health care and prevention programs, among other specialties. He also remains active in the Kuwait program and continues to travel to the country three to four times each year. It’s a cause Soparkar truly believes in, and the reason he’s stayed involved in the program for so many years.

Soparkar and his wife Beryl live in Lexington, Mass., where he and his wife have raised fourteen children – ten of them adopted, including two sets of twins – and today, the growing family includes more than twenty grandchildren!