Giving back to the less fortunate has always been a passion for dentist and philanthropist Dr. Esther de Chantal Bikoi, owner of Artistic Family Dental of Silver Spring. Her 30 years of leadership and selfless humanitarian efforts are the reason she was honored in September with the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, issued by United States President Joe Biden’s administration. Dr. Bikoi received the award at the National Press Club before hundreds of other prominent professionals, global leaders and change makers.
A native of Cameroon, Dr. Bikoi’s life is marked by a fierce commitment to education and public service – something instilled in her at an early age by her father, a respected education leader and professor, and her mother, a nurturer who managed a household with eight children.
“The value that my family placed on me impacted my career choices,” she said. “From the age of eight years old, I knew that I wanted to be a dentist and make a positive impact in the lives of others.”
Upon finishing high school, it didn’t take long for Dr. Bikoi to start making a difference. She attended dental school at Dakar University in Senegal and completed her oral surgery residency in the early 1990’s, before returning home to Cameroon and working at an Adventist clinic. During that period, she founded the RAPSED, a non-profit organization focused on providing healthcare and treatment to youth and the disadvantaged.
RAPSED participated in many mission trips and led charitable initiatives, such as visits to remote villages to provide care for men, women and children who lacked access to dental care. To date, the organization has volunteered extensively in Cameroon, Ghana, and other nations, distributing important information on preventative dental care, hosting workshops and seminars, and delivering resources such as books and desks to schools.
“My team and I practiced long hours, 7:00am to 2:00am for days on end to help treat the villagers,” Dr. Bikoi said. “Through the RAPSED Health Education and Information Campaigns, we have provided for thousands of people with much needed information regarding preventive dental care. We have seen an eager population lining up to attend RAPSED’S seminars and workshops to learn about dental hygiene and other potentially deadly diseases.”
Life in the U.S. began for Dr. Bikoi in 1999 after her mentor, a respected dentist, recommended her for a scholarship to complete an internship in clinical restorative dentistry at Loma Linda University in California. After six months of training, she worked as a surgical and dental assistant and was ultimately accepted into the university’s dental school. One of the highlights of her experience there was when she participated in a medical mission trip to Brazil. Dr. Bikoi volunteered to live on a boat for two weeks, setting up dental clinics to service villagers living along the Amazon River, making a remarkable impact. She graduated with her Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) in 2012.
Dr. Bikoi’s quest for knowledge and experience has been never-ending. She has moved on to obtain additional training from other prestigious dental institutions, including:
· The Engel Institute: Dental Implants
· Loma Linda University Implant Dentistry Continuum: Dental Implants
· Universidade Metropolitana de Santos: Implant live patients training
· Stewart Center: 18 – month residency in Occlusion and Minimally Invasive Dentistry
· The Denture Fountain of Youth: Dentures
· Invisalign: Invisalign Orthodontics
· Dental XP: One Year Externship in Implant Dentistry
· Training in many programs and dental conventions with the top national and international dentists
In 2017, Dr. Bikoi started her highly successful dental practice, Artistic Family Dentistry of Silver Spring, in Silver Spring, MD. Since opening, her patients have benefitted from state-of-the-art dental procedures and the most advanced dental technology available.
This long list of achievements would make it no surprise to many that Dr. Bikoi was acknowledged by President Joe Biden’s administration. However, to her, it remains recognition she never could have imagined when she started her path three decades ago.
“Being a recipient for the Lifetime Achievement Award has been a great honor,” she said. “I am grateful to know that the work I am doing is impactful and I have made a positive contribution to my community. The most important thing about the award is the fact that it highlights the value that I strive to live by, which is to always be of service to others.”
More information can be found on Dr. Esther de Chantal and her dental practice, Artistic Family Dentistry of Silver Spring, by visiting the website at www.artisticfamilydentistryofsilverspring.com.
Prominent Dentist Receives Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award