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Horizon’s Chief Dental Officer is Young Dentist of the Year

May 20, 2024 | Uncategorized

[HOWARD, SD] — Two Horizon dental providers were honored for their service by the South Dakota Dental Association during the organization’s May convention.

Horizon’s Chief Dental Officer Michelle Scholtz, DDS, was chosen as the Young Dentist of the Year by SDDA. The award recognizes young dentists in South Dakota. Scholtz received the award on May 18 at the Denny Sandford Premier Center. It is given in cooperation with the International College of Dentists chapter in South Dakota, which provides financial support for the award. Each component district dental society may select one outstanding young dentist each year based on criteria established by the SDDA Board of Trustees. The dentist must be under 40 years old, be actively involved professionally and at the district, state, and national levels. They must also be active in their community.


Dr. Scholtz is the Chief Dental Officer for Horizon’s eight dental sites. She has worked for Horizon since 2012 and has served as Chief Dental Officer since 2013. In that time, she created dental mentorships for new providers, launched teledentistry appointments for all Horizon sites, and fostered relationships with dental schools in the region to recruit new dentists each year. She continually works to integrate medical and dental health in primary care services.

In 2022, she launched a community garden and remains focused on healthy diet initiatives as well as promoting the Smiles for Miles Program. Smiles for Miles is funded by the Horizon Health Foundation and provides free dental checkups for children five years old and under during the month of October.

Dental Hygienist Pat Aylward received an Award of Commendation from SDDA. The award is given based on service to the South Dakota Dental Association, organized dentistry, or the profession of dentistry, such as service on a committee or task force, in an elected office or appointed position.

Aylward began working for Horizon in March 2024 in the newly renovated and expanded Horizon Health – Plankinton dental clinic. She is committed to oral health education and conducts education sessions for organizations and groups in Mitchell and the surrounding area. She has worked as a hygienist in South Dakota, Colorado and Saudi Arabia.

“The expertise of our dental staff is a key component to completing the Horizon promise of Caring for Our Way of Life,” said Horizon CEO Wade Erickson. “These awards are a testament to the high-quality care we can provide our patients.”

About Horizon Health Care, Inc.

For over 40 years, Horizon Health has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and behavioral healthcare through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental healthcare needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 110,000 patient visits annually in 31 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Alcester, Bison, Bryant, De Smet, Eagle Butte, Elk Point, Faith, Fort Thompson, Howard, Huron, Isabel, La Plant, Lake Preston, Martin, McIntosh, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River, Woonsocket, and Yankton. For more information, please visit

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