FHC Honors Dr. Lisandra Soto, Renames Dental Day of Caring

Dr. Lisandra Soto, a champion of quality oral health for underserved people, has been honored by Family Health Center, the State of Michigan, and the Kalamazoo community. That recognition includes rebranding FHC’s Dental Day of Caring, which brings free dental services to people in need, in Dr. Soto’s name.

Dr. Soto, former Chief Dental Officer at Family Health Center, learned of the honor at a surprise reception at FHC’s Alcott campus on June 29. More than 120 people from state and local government, community groups and healthcare organizations, as well as Dr. Soto’s family, took part in the celebration. At the reception, FHC President and CEO Denise Crawford announced that future Dental Day of Caring events will be renamed the Dr. Lisandra Soto Dental Day of Caring.

“Family Health Center is proud to honor Dr. Lisandra Soto, who provided the clinical leadership for our first-ever Dental Day of Caring, spearheading the effort that made it possible,” said Crawford. “As a community, we honor Dr. Soto by working together to build a strong, resilient and healthier Kalamazoo County.”

Crawford said Dr. Soto has been battling cancer since 2016. “Her determination and fighting spirit are reflected in her lifelong commitment to providing quality oral health care to underserved people. To honor her commitment, every future Dental Day of Caring will be known as the Dr. Lisandra Soto Dental Day of Caring.”

Family Health Center’s first-ever Dental Day of Caring took place on March 23 at the Alcott campus. About 300 uninsured adults across Kalamazoo County received dental services such as diagnostics, cleaning, and dental procedures such as fillings and extractions, as well as a free dental hygiene kit to maintain good oral health. Partnering with FHC were United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, and the Kalamazoo chapter of The Links Incorporated, fourth-year dental students and supervisors from the University of Michigan, and volunteer dental professionals from across Kalamazoo County.

“Many adults who don’t have dental insurance don’t get the care they need, and that puts their overall health at risk,” said Crawford. “The Dr. Lisandra Soto Dental Day of Caring will help them address that basic need.”

Crawford said FHC plans to hold future Dental Days of Caring on a regular basis.

In addition, State Rep. Jon Hoadley presented Dr. Soto with a resolution from the Michigan State Legislature celebrating her commitment to community and underserved patients.

Dr. Soto served as FHC’s Chief Dental Officer from 2016 until 2019. A native of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, she has dedicated much of her professional career working with underserved population. In 1985 she received her degree as a Dental Medicine Doctor from the University of Puerto Rico School of Dentistry. In 1992, Dr. Soto completed her residency program in pediatric dentistry from the same institution. In addition, she earned board certification from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a master’s degree in Public Health, and a post-graduate certificate in Public Administration from Michigan State University. In 1997, she relocated to Kalamazoo and has been active both in her profession and in community service.

Dr. Soto (third from left) is joined by family and friends at the June 29 recognition event.
President & CEO Denise Crawford announces Dr. Lisandra Soto Dental Day of Caring.