John Franklin “Frank” Whipps II, an orthodontist with offices in Centralia, Germantown and Vandalia, is the recipient of the 2012 Humanitarian Award, presented by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) at its recent convention in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to improving the quality of human life by doing something that extends beyond the usual scope of private orthodontic practice, academic functions or organized dentistry.
Whipps was recognized for more than 30 years of humanitarian work. It began in the 1980s when his then-teenaged son invited Whipps to join him in a local church’s domestic mission trip to remodel homes. The positive experience made him speculate about the possibilities of mission trips that could put his dental skills to work.
Whipps soon teamed with the Christian Dental and Medical Society to provide care in the Caribbean and Central and South America. He was asked to organize a volunteer effort in Belize, which led to the establishment of the Belize Mission Project. During its 19-year history, the project has provided dental and medical services to tens of thousands of people. In 2011 alone, nearly 10,000 Belize residents were served. A fluoride program for Belize children began in 2011. About 6,000 children received fluoride treatments and received toothbrushes and instruction in oral hygiene.
A native of Sullivan, Ind., Whipps graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, earned his dental degree at the University of Louisville Dental School and completed an orthodontic residency at Northwestern University.
He has been active in many community activities in Centralia and Belleville, where he and his wife, Bonnie, now live. They have two grown children and six grandchildren.
Whipps has recruited a variety of volunteers, including dentists, physicians, dental assistants, nurses, and medical and dental lab technicians. Lay people assist with logistics and other duties as needed. His wife, children, father-in-law, and members of this office staff are among volunteers.
In addition to general dentistry and medical care, recent trips have included dermatology, audiology and occupational therapy services, and diabetes screenings. Each trip lasts about nine days, and two trips are scheduled annually in the autumn. A food donation program at the end of each trip supplies local families with pantry staples.
The Belize Mission Project worked with the local Lions Club to construct a medical clinic building in the town of San Pedro, Belize. Then the Project set about soliciting donations to furnish the clinic with nearly $1 million of equipment and supplies, bringing much-needed medical care to the town’s 20,000 inhabitants.
Dr. Whipps is a member and past delegate of the Christian Medical and Dental Society, and of the Christian Dental Society.
Dr. Whipps is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He earned his dental degree at the University of Louisville Dental School, Louisville, Ky. After service in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam conflict, Dr. Whipps successfully completed Northwestern University’s orthodontic residency program. He opened his orthodontic practice in Centralia, Ill., in 1973. He has satellite offices in Germantown and Vandalia, Ill.
Dr. Whipps has been actively serving his community for many years. He started the Centralia YMCA and spent 20 years directing, coaching and judging swim meets throughout southern Illinois. He has been involved in the Rotary, Toastmasters, and Toastmasters International as a member and in a variety of leadership positions.
In his free time, Dr. Whipps enjoys photography as a hobby, music and water sports. His experience as a ham radio operator made communications possible in remote mission areas.
Dr. Whipps is a member of many professional organizations, including the AAO, the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists (MSO), the Illinois Society of Orthodontists (ISO), the American Dental Association, the Illinois State Dental Society and the Wabash River Dental Society. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. He serves on the ISO’s Donated Orthodontic Services Committee, and has served as an orthodontic examiner for the Illinois State Dental Board.
The MSO presented Dr. Whipps the Earl E. Shepard Distinguished Service Award in 2010, its highest honor. The University of Louisville Dental School presented him with the International College of Dentistry Award.
A native of Sullivan, Indiana, Dr. Whipps and his wife, Bonnie, are residents of Belleville, Ill. They have two grown children, Christopher and Courtney, and six grandchildren.
About the AAO
The AAO is recognized by the American Dental Association as the specialty association for orthodontists. Founded in 1900, the AAO has 17,000 members in the U.S., Canada and abroad. The purposes of the AAO are to advance the art and science of orthodontics; to encourage and sponsor research; to strive for and maintain the highest standards of excellence in orthodontic education and practice; and to make significant contributions to the health of the public.