Dr. Konita Wilks Named 2022 Alumni of the Year
The UCLA School of Dentistry is pleased to announce Konita Wilks, D.D.S. ’11, P.D. ’14, as its 2022 Alumni of the Year.
Dr. Wilks currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a 355-bed acute care hospital serving the San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, and High Desert; it is one of four public hospitals in the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. Appointed to this role in April 2022, she is the first dentist to ever serve as CEO of an LA County Health Services hospital.
“I am humbled and truly honored. So many faculty members from the UCLA School of Dentistry played a huge part in shaping the person I am today, so this award means so much to me,” Wilks said. “I am proud and grateful to be an alum.”
Prior to assuming the role of CEO, Dr. Wilks spent nearly seven years (2016-2022) at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center – another LA County health system hospital. While at Rancho, she served in both dental and hospital leadership roles as Medical Director of Quality, Patient Safety Officer, and the Medical Director and Chief of Dental Services. In dentistry, she has devoted her career to working with adults and children with special healthcare needs, conducting research on developing a standardized protocol for treating individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities in a traditional dental clinic setting.
After dental school, she completed a general practice residency at Rancho before returning to UCLA for a postgraduate residency in Pediatric Dentistry. Following residency, Dr. Wilks spent two years as dental director of the largest non-profit pediatric dental clinic in Orange County, Healthy Smiles for Kids of Orange County.
As a D.D.S. candidate, Dr. Wilks was appointed to the Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society and initiated a collaboration between UCLA and the Kids Community Clinic in Burbank. That partnership continues to this day through the School’s Community-Based Clinical Education initiative.
“Having taught Dr. Wilks for several dental school classes and in her residency, I can say that she is an outstanding dentist by both didactic and clinical standards,” said Dr. Clarice Law, former UCLA School of Dentistry professor in the sections of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics. “She has terrific patient management skills, making children and parents feel at ease under her care. In fact, I chose her to provide care to my own daughter, recording the appointment for use in instructing dental students.”
Dr. Wilks entered dental school after serving seven years active duty as a commissioned officer in the United States Navy, which included combat experience in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She earned her B.S. in political science and government from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1999.