Dentistry, like every profession, could never move forward without all types of action takers: mentors, icons, innovators, humanitarians, clinical experts, women to watch, trailblazers.
On #InternationalWomensDay, consider this collection of wisdom from a handful of award-winning women in dentistry. Spotlighted in 2020 by The Lucy Hobbs Project and Benco Dental, these seven women affect positive change every day and offer inspiration for us all.
Stephenie Goddard on mentorship:
“To watch people succeed in their careers and know that I had some small impact on that is the biggest gift in the world. ”Stephenie Goddard, MS, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Mentor Award
Stephenie Goddard guides the next generation of leaders in the dental community through her role as Executive Vice President of Business Operations at Glidewell Dental in Newport Beach, California. Her dedication to elevating women in the workplace inspired her to engineer Glidewell’s Guiding Leaders program, which empowers women nationwide in all facets of business and leadership. Goddard designed the educational program with the intent of developing future key opinion leaders and fostering mentorship in the dental arena. She is a senior executive with nearly 30 years of business experience across multiple sectors. In her current role she has global responsibility for strategically leading new business development, sales, managing key partnerships, customer experience, human resources and learning and development.
CITY: Newport Beach, California
AFFILIATIONS: Glidewell Dental
EDUCATION: MS, industrial and organizational psychology, San Jose State University
Dr. Lisa Simon on affecting change:
“I try to make sure students learn how to care for people who really need their skills, and see those people from all walks of life as people first. That continues to be very meaningful for me.”Lisa Simon, DMD, MD, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Woman to Watch Award
Dr. Lisa Simon dedicates her talents as a Fellow in Oral Health and Medicine Integration at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and a Resident Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Simon works to ensure oral health equity by integrating the medical and dental systems, which led her to become a physician after working as a community health center dentist. She has procured grants to pilot the assimilation of oral health services into hospital wards, primary care settings, and clinics for incarcerated populations. Dr. Simon has developed oral health education curricula for practicing primary care clinicians as well as medical and nursing students, and conducts research on the impact of oral health on overall health. The New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, and the American Journal of Public Health and many others have published her work.
CITY: Boston, Massachusetts
AFFILIATIONS: Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Harvard School of Dental Medicine
EDUCATION: DMD, Harvard School of Dental Medicine; MD, Harvard School of Medicine
Dr. Sarah Khan on clinical excellence:
“I have a deep desire to keep learning. I enjoy learning from the best and meeting people who want to change the world.”Sarah Khan, DMD, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Clinical Expertise Award
Dr. Sarah Khan demonstrates scientific and academic proficiency and experience. Dr. Khan earned her doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was selected to work alongside professors in a collaborative environment at the Ivy League school’s Dental Care Clinic. Through that exposure, she discovered her professional passion for advanced dental surgical techniques. Dr. Khan pursued courses with renowned educators Dr. Frank Spear, Dr. John Kois, and completed an intensive program with Dr. Arun K. Garg in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Khan’s expertise with sinus lifts, implants and full mouth extractions distinguish her surgically-focused practice in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Khan earned recognition from Incisal Edge among its 40 Under 40, America’s Best Young Dentists. Her recent undertakings include pharmaceutical development, and participation as a board member for a dental informatics company, aimed on improving patient care through the use of information technology.
CITY: Lynnwood, Washington
AFFILIATIONS: Dentistry of Lynnwood
EDUCATION: DMD, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine
Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes on giving back:
“I came to realize that my purpose in dentistry is to advocate for the children and families who don’t have a voice and lack access to care. That is my path.”Nicole McGrath-Barnes, DDS, FACD, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Humanitarian Award
Dr. McGrath Barnes lives each day never losing sight of her impetus at age 15: to serve through dentistry. When, after 16 years of private practice, she began witnessing inequities in many communities, Dr. McGrath-Barnes created KinderSmile Foundation in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Since 2007, more than 28,000 children and families in that state experienced free dentistry ($7 million in donated services) through the efforts of the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In that time, this oral health advocate mentored 35-plus high school and college students to pursue careers in the dental profession. Dr. McGrath-Barnes’ latest endeavor resulted in the expansion of KinderSmile’s dental homes in impoverished areas of Newark and Trenton, and inspired her to create an educational dental app for patients that is age appropriate in two languages. Her efforts have been lauded by The New Jersey Dental Association, New Jersey Office of the Governor and local community impact organizations.
CITY: Lawrence, New Jersey
AFFILIATIONS: KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Maryland School of Dentistry
Dr. Carolyn Primus on innovation:
“The minimum we can do to repair teeth, with the most biological benefits—that’s the future.”Carolyn Primus, PhD, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Innovator Award
Dr. Carolyn Primus makes strides in bioceramic materials technology for dentistry as an inventor, researcher, manufacturer, teacher, and humanitarian. She developed more than 100 medical devices in 30-plus years, including those she used to found Avalon Biomed. An inventor on 12 patents, with another pending, Dr. Primus developed bioactive materials that remain the standard of care in endodontics today. A medical device consultant for the past 23 years at Primus Consulting in Sarasota, Florida, she also shares knowledge as an adjunct associate professor at Dental College of Georgia and Texas A&M College of Dentistry. She contributes reviews for journals, lectures at schools on bioactive dental materials, and has authored 40 scientific articles, and chapters in textbooks. Recognitions include a University of Illinois engineering alumni award, and the Dr. Edward B. Shils Award for innovation and development of products for fixed prosthodontics, orthodontics and endodontics. She chairs the endodontic materials committees for the American Dental Association and International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Most recently, Dr. Primus was recognized with the ADA 2019 Volunteer of the Year Award.
CITY: Sarasota, Florida
AFFILIATIONS: Primus Consulting
EDUCATION: Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, the University of California, Davis
Dr. Rella Christensen on a career in dentistry:
“There might be a perception that dentistry isn’t as exciting as it used to be, but the truth is it’s more exciting than ever.”Rella Christensen, PhD, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Industry Icon Award
Dr. Rella Christensen shares her inspirational level of knowledge as a clinical researcher in numerous capacities, without any monetary compensation. Within her purview: Expanded Function Dental Hygiene, for which she founded and directed the Bachelor of Science Program at the University of Colorado in Denver. Dr. Christensen’s competencies in the areas of Physiology and Microbiology power the team at Technologies in Restoratives and Caries Research (TRAC Research), a nonprofit institute she established in Provo, Utah. At its core: in-depth studies of restorative materials, preventive dentistry, and dental caries. During her lifelong commitment to the betterment of patient treatment, Dr. Christensen also dedicated 27 years to Clinical Research Associates, a dental product testing institute that she founded and directed. She has presented over 1,040 dental continuing education programs, totaling over 5,200 hours, at U.S. and international locations and has published 121 abstracts. She is a member of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry and the International and American Associations for Dental Research. As a non-dentist, Dr. Christensen has been inducted into the International College of Dentists, Academy of General Dentistry and the Academy of Dentistry International as an Honorary Member. In 2001 she was selected as the Distinguished Alumnus of Brigham Young University’s School of Life Sciences, and now serves on its National Advisory Board.
CITY: Provo, Utah
AFFILIATIONS: TRAC Research
EDUCATION: B.S. in dental hygiene, University of Southern California; Ph.D. in physiology, Brigham Young University
Christina Catalano on women in dentistry:
“I was brought up to believe that it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female –you work hard and get the job done.”Christina Catalano, 2021 recipient of The Lucy Hobbs Project Trailblazer Award
Christina Catalano celebrated 19 years as a Territory Representative with Benco on October 1, 2020. She relates to the support and mentorship Dr. Lucy Hobbs received from women- and men- who shared the concept that being a woman in dentistry was possible.
The pandemic made it impossible for the Lucy Hobbs Project’s annual Celebration gala to go on in 2020 as planned, but the one held in Chicago in 2019, which Catalano was intimately involved in helping plan, was an enormous success.
CITY: Chicago, Illinois
AFFILIATIONS: Benco Dental
Don’t miss exclusive interviews with the 2021 Lucy Hobbs Project Award recipients in Incisal Edge magazine here: https://www.incisaledgemagazine.com/mag/article/the-8th-annual-lucy-hobbs-awards/
Ready to nominate an outstanding woman in dentistry for 2021?
Born in March, 1833 in upstate New York, Lucy Hobbs intended to pursue a career in dentistry from an early age—a thing that simply wasn’t done by a woman in nineteenth-century America. Shunted aside at nearly every turn, she persevered, in 1866 becoming the first American woman to earn a degree in dentistry, a professional discipline she practiced until her death in October 1910.
In 2013, Benco Dental inaugurated the Lucy Hobbs Project in her honor, celebrating the achievements of women in dentistry and working to empower them to drive further change.