Dr. J. Don Harris

It is an honor to nominate Dr. J. Don Harris for Leadership Oklahoma’s “Helping Oklahoma” award.
I remember the first time I met Dr. Harris, I was taken by his unpretentious down-to-earth demeanor. Everyone he meets is treated like an old friend regardless of social status, age or culture. At first glance Dr. Harris is a characteristic friendly dentist contently working in his corner of the world. But Dr. Harris is anything but typical.
For over 50 years Dr. Harris has demonstrated his profound empathy for needy Oklahomans. He has worked tirelessly to ensure access to dental care for special needs Oklahomans, the elderly and veterans. He began his career as a Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1964 and in 1970 he became the youngest Chief of Dental staff at St. Anthony’s Hospital. He is the co-founder and current volunteer of several prominent non-profit dental clinics such as D-DENT, Inc., Bethlehem Clinic, Rest Clinic and Predisan Clinic in Catacamas, Honduras.
The example he has set with the dental organizations he has co-founded, has received national accolades. Throughout his 31 years volunteering for D-DENT, Inc., Dr. Harris has provided over $500 thousand dollars in donated dental work to restoring the oral health of Oklahomans in need at no cost to the patient. This does not include the work he performs as a volunteer through other dental organizations in our great State.
His lifetime work is a testament to his beliefs. He is passionate about dentistry and is dedicated to providing preventive, restorative and cosmetic dental work for low income, uninsured Oklahomans. He specializing in those with developmental, congenital, disabilities, the elderly and Veterans who are in dire need of free comprehensive dental care due to lack of financial resources.
COMMUNITY MEMBERSHIP AND LEADERSHIP ROLES
Downtown Oklahoma City Rotary
Turning Point Advisory Council 2004
Board Member of the Donna Nigh Foundation 1993
Past Chairman and current member of the Oklahoma City County Board of Health 1969-Present
Past Board of Directors of Oklahoma City Beautiful
Board of Trustees of the Evergreen Foundation
Jim Thorpe Executive Council
Vice-Chairman of Capitol Hill Athletic Alumni Association
Board of Trustees of Chance to Change 2011
Chairman of the Meadows Board of Directors-One of the Founding Fathers 1980
Founder of Partners in Public Health Foundation 2001- Present
Citizens Executive Committee of Mayor’s Wellness Now Program 2010- Present
Advisory Board Member of University of Central Oklahoma, Liberal Arts 2009
Chairman of Edmond Association for Retarded Citizens 1979
Founder of the first dental clinic for indigent in N.E. Oklahoma City. 1972

Dr. Harris’ work as a volunteer has not gone unnoticed. He has personal references from Governor Walters, Governor Nigh, Governor Keating, and Governor Henry. It was Governor Henry who created a Task Force to address the unmet dental needs within the state of Oklahoma in 2007. The Task Force found that “Oklahoma’s D-DENT program is among the best in the country.”
Dr. Harris has truly gone above and beyond as a volunteer, impacting Oklahoma like few others have.

This Year's Nominees

Click on nominees to read more about them.

Nominated by Shannon Rich
Nominated by Sharon Mocabee-Sisco
Nominated by Casey Shupe
Nominated by Kay Harsha
Nominated by Philip Wong
Nominated by Shane Fernandez
Nominated by Stephanie Giacomo
Nominated by Melissa Baldwin
Nominated by Caryl Parsons
Nominated by Tori Garrett
Nominated by Taprina Milburn
Nominated by Barbara Butner
Nominated by Dawn Byram
Nominated by Marcus McEntire
Nominated by Debby Hampton
Nominated by Ruben Reyes
Nominated by Pamela Ballard
Nominated by Cristi Twenter
Nominated by Mandi Mays
Nominated by Melissa York
Nominated by Laurie Tilley
Nominated by David Rackley