A maximum capacity crowd in the Carolina Room of the Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston, included the first female graduate of the College of Dental Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the first female President of the Texas Dental Association (TDA) and seemingly more dental trailblazers than Palmetto trees in “America’s Friendliest City”.
That doesn’t even account for the celebration’s namesake – Dr. Lucy Hobbs, who in 1866 became the first American female to earn a degree in dentistry – or the event’s two distinguished honorees: Lucy Hobbs Project 2016 Industry Icon Theresa Gonzales, DMD, MS, MSS (shown above, right) and 2015 Woman to Watch Amanda Seay, DDS, AAACD (shown above, center).
To state that inspiration overflowed each time a speaker took the podium is no understatement, whether sharing – with gripping honesty – the meaning gained from early career “failures” or offering startling examples of the lack of female leadership in the dental industry (only 6% representation) and beyond.
Addressing the more than 150 attendees at this celebration of women in dentistry hosted
by Benco Dental and Procter & Gamble’s Crest + Oral-B were Patricia Blanton, DDS, MS, PhD., the aforementioned first female President of the TDA, and Cathy Moss, DMD, who enrolled in the MUSC College of Dental Medicine as its first female student in 1970 and earned her dental degree in 1973.
As she wrapped up her discussion of the possibilities and responsibilities that await us all, Dr. Blanton, (shown above left) who was recently named interim dean of James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine at MUSC, shared breaking news about her award-winning colleague. Just this week, Dr. Gonzales was elevated to Associate Dean of Curriculum and Communications.
Under Dr. Gonzales leadership, in just three years, the teachers she oversees have won national recognition, and test scores are the highest in the school’s history. Yet in an interview with Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine earlier this year, Dr. Gonzales placed the credit with her students:
“I could not be more comfortable with the fate of the [dental] profession based on the people who have entered it. They have come into the profession for the right reason – to provide a public service.”
The Lucy Hobbs Project empowers women in dentistry to drive change and deliver success through networking, innovation and giving back. The evening would not have been complete without a call to action from two humanitarians, Dena Davis and Dr. Mary The, representing Charleston County School District’s Head Start. Genuinely surprised by a presentation of healthy snack and toothbrushes donations from attendees for the children the program serves, Davis and Dr. The thanked the crowd and offered them a life-changing opportunity.
In the next 45 days their limited staff is challenged with completing health care screenings for 1,029 children in the Charleston community, ages birth to 5. The two women invited all in the room to donate their talents and Dr. Gonzales was the first to volunteer.
To learn more about The Lucy Hobbs Project, visit: https://thelucyhobbsproject.com/