LONGTIME FRIENDS—AND FRIENDLY COMPETITORS—DR. JASON STONER AND DR. ROBERT NAPLES ON MOTIVATION, MOMENTUM AND SHARING STUDY CLUB OF THE YEAR HONORS.
TO HEAR DR. ROBERT NAPLES tell it, becoming established as a Seattle Study Club director is a lot like starting high school. “Everyone seems older, they all know each other and things seem overwhelming,” he says. But just like in high school, time flies. There’s a blur of hard work, and before you know it, you’re a leader and a mentor. Except now, there’s no graduation, just an ongoing pursuit whose rewards are in the journey.
Dr. Naples and his friend Dr. Jason Stoner currently share the Seattle Study Club’s Vincent G. Kokich Study Club of the Year Award. Dr. Naples, an oral surgeon, has been the director of Lone Star Dental Seminars since 2004. He developed the innovative “All on Friday” program, the only dental-restoration program of its kind in America making use of the All-on-Four treatment concept in partnership with patients’ dentists. Dr. Stoner, a periodontist, is also a noted lecturer, bone-therapy pioneer and director of the Sfumato Dental Study Club since 2005.
The two doctors exemplify how friendly competition is an unspoken but powerful driving force among Seattle Study Club leaders. They’re not competing against one another, per se, but striving as a unit to advance the science and art of dental health care. “Navy SEALs have a slogan: ‘The only easy day was yesterday,’ ” Dr. Stoner says. Meaning, of course, that working hard all the time reveals what you’re truly capable of and makes yesterday seem a cinch by comparison. “The Seattle Study Club is the best place in the world to belong during this pandemic. Dentistry can regain its purpose and passion and emerge even stronger.”
Adds Dr. Naples: “There’s an evolution and commitment that happens with a long-term Seattle Study Club. It started with local relationships and, for me, extended all the way around the world. During my fiftieth birthday in 2018, Jason and I and 18 other doctors set up a private surgical course in San Sebastián, Spain, traveling from Paris to Bordeaux to the Basque region. Who does that? Life is far better than I could have imagined, and I’m really looking forward to the next 15 years as technology and patient care evolve and become even more exciting.”
The camaraderie among Seattle Study Club members is clearly in evidence between the two good pals. “Sharing [the award] with one of my closest colleagues, mentors and friends was absolutely awe-inspiring,” Dr. Stoner says, “and demon-strates the level of excellence it represents.” Dr. Naples is similarly touched over having been honored alongside someone he calls a great friend: “Just to be thought of with Jason and the other past recipients is thrilling and humbling.” In the Seattle Study Club, it seems, inspiration is contagious.