In the male-dominated medical industry, women have long struggled to gain both access to education and recognition for their accomplishments. Dentistry is no exception â€” as of 2004, the American Dental Association reported that only 19 percent of U.S. dentists were women compared to 30 percent of physicians. Armed with periodontal probes and passion for patient care, the following women are helping to raise that percentage and re-define what it means to be a dental professional.
Colleen B. DeLacy
The Michigan native is not only a partner at Completely Smiles, she is also a recipient of the Academy of General Dentistry’s Fellowship Award for going above and beyond her patients’ oral health. DeLacy speaks publicly about double standards in her field and discusses the obstacles she faces as a female dentist. Her blog post “I Am a Female Dentist” caught the attention of her peers, revealing the ways advertisers in the dental industry objectify and alienate their female audience.
“I have a higher standard for my profession than what I see in the grocery store aisle reading selection,” DeLacy said in her blog post.
Check out Dr. DeLacy at @CompletelySmiles.
Dr. Catrise Austin
Dr. Austin may just be dentistry’s very own media darling. With multiple TV appearances on “The Today Show,” the Discovery Health Channel and more, this seasoned dentist wears many hats. Aside from author, entrepreneur and public speaker, Austin boasts the title of national dental consumer brand spokeswoman and expert for Colgate Total. In her practice, which was the first in the nation to offer HIV testing, Austin strives to bring awareness to the connection between dental health and diabetes.
Check out Dr. Austin at @DrCatriseAustin.
Dr. Allison M. Adams
As one of New Jersey’s top dentists for the past six years, Dr. Adams is guided by a philosophy that demands radical thinking, extraordinary patient care and an ability to look beyond teeth. In addition to leading an all-female team at
, Adams strives to incorporate whole body solutions in her original practice and her new Integrative Dental Center. At the center, patients with orthodontic needs, sleep apnea, breathing issues and oral motor disorders can find creative treatments that fit their unique needs.
Check out Dr. Adams and her team at
Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, FADAA
Hunter is hardly your run-of-the-mill dental assistant. When she’s not busy tending to her responsibilities as vice president of the American Dental Assistants Association, the CDA and writer manages the office of Dr. Eric Hurtte and directs Dental Careers Institute’s six schools. She takes a hands-on approach in her position as director, going the distance to educate dental students with her own classes. Thanks to a fierce sense of determination and careful research, Hunter has been able to locate communities with a need for dental education, create continuing education courses and bring new schools to fruition.
Check out Hunter’s articles
On the business end of the dental industry, Valplast International’s senior vice president, Carmen Alatzas, is breaking barriers and seeking results. In her roles leading Valplast’s innovations department and overseeing operations and marketing, Alatzas finds gratification in helping dentists grow their practices and touch the lives of their patients. Growing up with challenges experienced by many first-generation Americans, Alatzas has used adversity to commit herself to every element of Valplats’ marketing, from exhibit displays to individual shipments.
Check out Alatzas at @carmenvalplast.