According to Dr. Rella Christensen at the Driving Dentistry Forward podcast, restorative materials may be on the horizon that will “allow you to have all your bad habits and still control dental caries?” At least that’s her hope. The recipient of the Lucy Hobbs Project Industry Icon award shares her inspirational level of knowledge as a clinical researcher – and some lighthearted moments — in a discussion with Chuck Cohen, Driving Dentistry Forward podcast host, and Benco Dental Managing Director.

What was it like returning to school at 42? Dr. Rella Christensen explains at the Driving Dentistry Forward podcast.

Already accomplished her field — by that time Dr. Christensen had founded and directed the Bachelor of Science Program for Expanded Function Dental Hygiene at the University of Colorado in Denver — she decided to pursue a doctorate in physiology and microbiology at Brigham Young University in Utah.

“In my early 40s I didn’t know the people in the general science area where I was working, in the area where I would get a PhD in physiology…I was not only the only woman, I was the only old woman,” she joked.

“Were there barriers? There definitely were, based on gender, and on age, but I found that just by keeping my nose down and my mouth shut and doing the work, that the work was allowed to stand on its own, and I’ll give BYU credit for that.”

RELLA CHRISTENSEN, PHD, on the pursuit of her doctorate at 42

Dr. Christensen chats about her professional journey — and her personal one.

Let’s rewind a bit.

The Pasadena native talks about her introduction to the world of dental hygiene (her uncle), and to an aspiring dentist from Logan, Utah who she crossed paths with while earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern California. Since then it’s been a lifetime love, marriage and dentistry with Dr. Gordon Christensen. They graduated from USC on the same day, and in 1976 founded together the renowned Clinical Research Associates Foundation. For 27 years after that, she directed what became an iconic dental product-testing institute.

What’s their secret to a successful relationship? (Hint: Nothing says romance like a scanning electron microscope.)

Click to hear about a slightly non-traditional 50th anniversary present she received from Dr. Rella Christensen at the Driving Dentistry Forward podcast.

Every other Thursday, hosts Chuck Cohen and Rick Cohen welcome top influencers in the world of dentistry to share the moments that shaped their careers, changed their outlooks and inspired them to action. Who better to ask than inspirational women in the field, the Lucy Hobbs Project Award recipients?

Make sure you don’t miss an upcoming Driving Dentistry Forward podcast episode. Benco Dental will post a new interview every other week, so subscribe today by visiting this link:

Join Benco Dental Managing Directors and Founders of Incisal Edge magazine Rick Cohen and Chuck Cohen today, and every other Thursday to follow. Tune in today!

Reminder: Don’t miss the chance to nominate a dental mentor for this year’s Lucy Hobbs Project Awards.

Nominate for the Lucy Hobbs Project Awards here.
Deadline to nominate is August 1, 2021.