Myron Allukian Jr. DDS MPH
January 06, 1939 - Present
Dr. Allukian is a nationally and internationally recognized public health expert. He was the dental director for the City of Boston for 34 years and also served as chairman of the U.S. Surgeon General's Work Group on Fluoridation and Dental Health for the 1990 Prevention Objectives for the Nation, and the Dental Advisory Committees for the nation’s health objectives: Healthy People 2000, 2010, and 2020. Dr. Allukian is a past president of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the second dentist in APHA’s then 118-year history and the first Vietnam Veteran to be president of APHA. He is the first dentist to be named to the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
While serving in the Vietnam war at the 3rd Marine Division field hospital, on his “free time,” he set up a "people to people" program in the orphanages, schools, refugee camp and villages in the Danang area. Thus began his 58 year career as a tireless and fearless leader in promoting better health, social justice, and improved access to care for the most vulnerable not only in Massachusetts and the nation but internationally as well. He has been called “The Social Conscience of Dentistry.”
Raised in Boston’s South End, neither of his immigrant parents finished high school and his mother was an Armenian Genocide survivor. Dr. Allukian is a Boston Latin School graduate, received his BS (psychology) from then Tufts College, his DDS from the University of Pennsylvania and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Board certified in dental public health, he is one of a few dentists who is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
Allukian opted for a new challenge in 1956 when he began wrestling during his freshman year at Tufts College for Coach Sam Ruggeri, a 2022 Massachusetts Hall of Famer. Myron had competed in swimming for eight years and had captained the swimming team at Boston Latin School but he wanted a new challenge. From sophomore year on at Tufts, he won most of his college and New England AAU wrestling matches. Myron was captain and MVP senior year at Tufts in 1960 when he took 2nd at the New England AAU championships, losing in overtime in the 191 lb class even though he only weighed 165 lbs.
In 1955, Myron had begun working out at the Boston Young Men’s Christian Union (YMCU) to improve his gymnastics and juggling skills. When he started wrestling at Tufts, he continued with gymnastics and juggling at the YMCU while also engaging in wrestling, handball, and judo (later earning his black belt in Okinawa). During his college years and beyond he taught many high school, college, and Emerson wrestlers who came to wrestle and learn new moves on Wednesday nights at the YMCU. Myron was a founding member and served on the Board of the Massachusetts Chapter, National Wrestling Hall of Fame from 1996–2005 where he helped his longtime friend Jim Peckham with the wrestling banquets beginning in the 1970’s. Dr. Allukian had juggled meat cleavers in night clubs, working his way through college and dental school. A Boston Globe article (February 1960), Tufts Wrestling Captain is Meat Cleaver Juggler, documented his invention of the pirouette or spin leg take down which he taught Kenny Mallory (1999 Massachusetts Hall of Famer) who used the spin move to help him win one Division I and three Division III NCAA titles.
Dr. Allukian’s three sons, Myron 3rd, Jason and Nathan, were all captains of the Boston Latin School wrestling team in their senior years (1995, 2001, and 2005) and Myron often worked out with their teams. All three sons competed in prep school too; Nathan was a prep school All-American in 2006. Myron 3rd wrestled at Wesleyan and Jason at WPI.
Dr. Allukian has been president of at least ten state and national dental, health and public health organizations. Dr. Allukian has over 160 publications and abstracts including 23 chapters in books. He has extensive experience in access, policy, vulnerable populations, prevention, education and delivery systems. He is or has been on the faculties of the Schools of Public Health of Harvard, Boston University, and the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, the Schools of Dental Medicine of Boston University, Georgetown, Harvard and Tufts, and the Forsyth School for Dental Hygienists. Dr. Allukian was on the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) and was the dental clinical director of the New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC). Currently, he continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of the New England College of Optometry and is a consultant to NYU Langone Dental Medicine. Dr. Allukian also is an advisor to the Oral Health Working Group, World Federation of Public Health Associations.
Dr. Allukian has received over 50 awards. A few of those include both the Distinguished Faculty and Distinguished Alumni Awards from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the Sedgwick Memorial Medal for Distinguished Service to Public Health from the American Public Health Association (the APHA’s highest award, he is the first dentist to receive it), the Fluoridation Lifetime Achievement Award, and Honorary Fellowship in the Royal Society of Health of Great Britain. Last November, Myron became the first dentist to receive the prestigious Paul Revere Award from the Massachusetts Public Health Association for five decades of outstanding public health leadership.
Although never a wrestling champion, Dr. Allukian used his wrestling knowledge, training, experiences, and competitive spirit to tackle the many challenges and barriers that he has faced when trying to improve the health and lives of vulnerable and high-risk communities in our country and abroad.
Dr. Allukian states that he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much without the love, support and help of his great wife Ruth (a retired nurse practitioner, administrator and school nurse), his six children (Drs. Myron 3rd, Kristin and Alison Allukian; Jason, Alexandra and Nathan), and his five grandchildren (Myron 4th, Connor, Charlotte, Raphael and Anastasia).