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Benco Dental announces 2020 Lucy Hobbs Project Award recipients


This year's honorees include the founder of 2 institutes and a university bachelor’s program, a front runner of advanced surgical techniques, and an innovator of over 100 medical devices and technology.

Benco Dental annually honors inspirational women in the dental profession through the Lucy Hobbs Project. This year, 6 more women were recognized for their contribution to the dental profession, including the founder of 2 institutes and a university bachelor’s program, a front runner of advanced surgical techniques, and an innovator of over 100 medical devices and technology.

The 2020 Lucy Hobbs Project Award recipients are:

  • Industry Icon Award: Rella Christensen, PhD is a clinical researcher with competencies in physiology and microbiology who founded and directed the Bachelor of Science program at the University of Colorado. She also established the non-profit Technologies in Restoratives and Caries Research (TRAC Research), which does in-depth studies of restorative materials, preventative dentistry, and dental caries. Dr Christensen has presented over 1,000 dental continuing education programs at US and international locations and has published 121 abstracts. She’s a member of the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry and the International and American Associations for Dental Research.
  • Clinical Expertise Award: Sarah Khan, DMD earned he doctorate in dental medicine from the University of Pennslyvania, where she was selected to work alongside professors at the university’s Dental Care Clinic and where she developed a passion for advanced dental surgical techniques. Her experience with sinus lifts, implants, and full mouth extractions distinguish her practice in Seattle, Washington. Dr Kahn’s recent focuses include pharmaceutical development and improving patient care through the use of information technology.
  • Humanitarian Award: Nicole McGrath-Barnes, DDS, FACD began noticing inequalities in many communities after 16 years of private practice, which led her to create the KinderSmile Foundation in New Jersey. Since 2007, more than 28,000 children and families in NJ have received free dentistry through the efforts of this non-profit organization, equal to $7 million in donated services. She also has mentored more than 30 high school and college students to pursue careers in dentistry. Dr McGrath-Barnes’ latest efforts have resulted in the expansion of KinderSmile’s dental homes to impoverished areas of Newark and Trenton and inspired her to create a dental app for patients. 
  • Innovator Award: Carolyn Primus, PhD is an inventor, researcher, manufacturer, teacher, and humanitarian. She has developed more than 100 medical devices in 30-plus years, including those she used to found Avalon Biomed. An inventor on 12 patents, with one more pending, Dr Primus developed bioactive materials that remain the standard in endodontics today. She also works as a medical device consultant for Primus Consulting in Sarasota, Florida, and is an adjunct associate professor at the Dental College of Georgia and the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. Dr Primus lectures on bioactive materials and has authored 40 scientific articles and textbook chapters. 
  • Mentor Award: Stephanie Goddard, MS is the executive vice president of business operations at Glidewell Dental. Her dedication to elevating women in the workplace inspired her to engineer Glidewell’s Guiding Leaders program, which empowers women 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. With nearly 30 years of business experience, her current role gives her global responsibility for new business development.
  • Woman to Watch Award: Lisa Simon, MD, DMD is a Fellow in Oral Health and Medicine Integration at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and a resident physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. 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 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 physicians, as well as medical and nursing students. She also conducts research on the impact of oral health on overall health and her work has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, and the American Journal of Public Health. 

All 6 of this year’s recipients will be featured in the winter issue of Incisal Edge and will be invited to join the new Driving Dentistry Forward podcast hosted by Chuck Cohen and Rick Cohen, managing directors of Benco Dental.

Named after Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor, the first American woman to earn a degree in dentistry in 1866, the project aims to bring women together from all facets of the industry, including dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, receptionists, sales representatives, and others. Powered by Benco and 10,00 members strong, The Lucy Hobbs Project® encourages dental professionals to unite as a force for change through networking, innovation, and giving back and is free to join. For more information, visit thelucyhobbsproject.com.

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