THE FACE OF dentistry has changed considerably since we inaugurated the Lucy Hobbs Awards in 2013, cele­brating women’s contribu­tions in the name of the first American woman to earn a dental degree when she did so in 1866.

We like to think these honors have played at least some role in boosting fe­male participation throughout the profes­sion, but of course it’s women themselves who have been the biggest drivers of change—women like the ones you’ll meet on the pages ahead. The future of dentistry is trending female, and the high achievers, philanthropists and mentors you meet here—and others like them in every nook and cranny of the country—are a big reason why.




CITY: Colorado Springs, Colorado
EDUCATION: DDS, University of Iowa Dental School; orthodontics residency and MS, University of Iowa
NAMES OF PRACTICES: Kim Batterson Orthodontics SPECIALTY: Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics

IMAGINE A PATIENT with a severe underbite—destined for orthognathic surgery, surely. Well, not necessarily, thanks to an innovative alternative treat­ment developed by Dr. Kim Batterson.

The board­certified orthodontist has been ex­ploring growth modification treatment options for Class III malocclusions, a less common but more complex variety. Her research on two corrective approach­es—RPE/RPHG vs. MARPE/RPHG/De Clerck, for those who speak ortho—is prom­ising. “I found that a bone­borne expander with a re­verse pull headgear and De Clerck plates can statisti­cally improve the patient’s ANB,” Dr. Batterson says. This means more patients, especially those with severe skeletal discrepancies, may find themselves with alter­ natives to surgery. “We can try to redirect that growth and avoid jaw surgery.”

Having studied these treatment options for sev­eral years in her solo prac­tice, Dr. Batterson recently presented her findings to the prestigious Angle Soci­ety. Next, she hopes to have her research published and plans to validate the effec­tiveness of her methods with additional patient studies.

Her practices in Colo­rado Springs and nearby Cañon City, which she has run for 21 years, reflect her forward­thinking approach. The clinics are equipped with advanced technology to help provide precision care: a CBCT unit, an intra­oral scanner—an especially beneficial tool for younger patients with a sensitive gag reflex—and, in her main Colorado Springs outpost, a 3D printer.

Her guiding philos­ ophy: “I believe in doing things right the first time,” she says. “Ideal occlusion is my number one goal. Yes, we’ll finish with a beautiful smile, but I want all teeth to hit perfectly.” Being board­certified adds an­ other layer of accountabil­ity to her work. “You submit finished cases and are then evaluated by your peers. It’s very humbling.”

Outside the office, life is just as dynamic for the mother of two and “ultra­ runner” who recently cele­brated her fiftieth birthday by completing the grueling 50­mile Pikes Peak Ultra race. “Every day, I’m crea­ting beautiful smiles and making a positive impact,” she says—at the chair and on the trail alike.


Industry Icon


AGE: 54
CITY: Knoxville, Tennessee
EDUCATION: DDS, Loyola University School of Dentistry; MBA, Belhaven University; Ed.D in educational leadership, Liberty University
AFFILIATION: Lincoln Memorial University College of Dental Medicine
SPECIALTY: General dentistry

THE MOMENT everything clicked for Dr. De­nise Terese in dental school has remained in her memory ever since. She was sitting in Dr. Norm Woods’s oral histology class as a D1 at Loyola Uni­versity in Chicago. “I thought, ‘This is what education should be. I want to be one of these people who makes a difference.’ ”

Today, with successful careers as both dentist and educator, that’s just what she’s doing. For 23 years, she built and ran a multimil­lion­dollar private practice in Chicago alongside her husband, Loren. After they sold it in 2014, she transi­tioned to what she calls her “second career in dental education,” hired to devel­op and implement courses including Advanced Educa­tion in General Dentistry for Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin and three den­ tal programs for South Col­lege in Nashville.

In August 2020, she was named the founding dean and chief academic officer of Lincoln Memorial Univer­sity–College of Dental Med­icine in Knoxville, launching the school’s DMD and hy­giene programs when LMU­CDM opened its doors to its inaugural class in 2022.

Dr. Terese saw the flaws of a “one size fits all” peda­gogical model. “Students today don’t respond to that,” she says. “We have to dif­ferentiate the process and put them in an environment where they’ll thrive.”

Her notions aligned with LMU’s vision for a stu­dent­centered curriculum. The school emphasizes problem­based learning and hands­on experience, immersing students in pre­ventive dentistry as early as their first semester. Commu­ nity service is also central, supporting LMU­CDM’s mission to bring oral health care to the 2 million people who live in eastern Tennes­see and Appalachia more broadly—a region plagued by severe caries incidence and limited access to care. Its outreach program has seen some 21,500 patients since September 2022.

For Dr. Terese, who still practices in affiliation with the university and com­munity outreach program, it’s about shaping the next generation of dentists to be good doctors—and, just as important, good humans. “Autograph your work with excellence and be proud of the work you’ve put into the community,” she says. “These are some of the things I’m trying to teach.”


Clinical Expert


AGE: 39
CITY: Concord, New Hampshire
EDUCATION: BDS, Manipal College of Dental Medicine, Manipal University, Manipal, India; MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; DMD, Uni­versity of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; dental and craniofacial research fellowship, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health; oral and maxillofacial surgery residency, University of Cincinnati
NAME OF PRACTICE: Capitol Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
SPECIALTY: Oral and maxillofacial surgery

HAVING EMIGRATED from India, Dr. Pay­ al Verma has traversed the proverbial long and winding road to get where she is today, powered by a relentless drive to succeed that has brought
her great professional success at an early age.

Shadowing her dentist aunts and uncles in India when she was younger, Dr. Verma was naturally drawn to the profession. Not until she volunteered with Oper­ ation Smile, a nonprofit that treats patients with cleft and craniofacial disorders, did she decide to come to the United States in 2009 to con­ tinue her training in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

She has been some­ thing of a pioneer: Nation­ wide, women are just 8 percent of oral and maxillo­ facial surgeons—female im­ migrants much less so. She knew challenges lay ahead. “I had to work extra hard to stand out,” she says.

Dr. Verma endured a few detours along the way. Some personal circumstan­ ces forced her to take a hia­ tus from her residency just one year in, creating further struggles. “It becomes dif­ ficult to re­match because people question your inten­ tions,” she says.

Despite the setback, she was undeterred. In 2015, she began a research fellowship at the National Institute of Dental and Cra­

niofacial Research. There, she worked with patients with rare craniofacial disor­ ders and syndromes and got deeply involved in cranio­ facial research. She reap­ plied for residency, facing a litany of intrusive inter­ views, and in 2017 matched at the University of Cincin­ nati, where she completed her training.

Today, the board­cer­ tified surgeon channels her competitive spirit into pa­ tient care at her practice in New Hampshire, incorporat­ ing technology such as vir­ tual surgical planning and 3D­guided bone grafts. Her pursuit of academic excel­ lence remains as ardent as ever, too: She has authored 16 research articles to date, contributed a book chapter about outpatient anesthesia practices and remains in­ volved with the NIDCR.

Through it all, she has persevered. She offers ad­ vice to others in similar situ­ ations: “There will be peo­ ple who like to stop you. I heard that 1,000 times, even from surgeons,” she says. “If you have passion, just go for it and stay focused.”




AGE: 41
CITY: Ardsley, New York
EDUCATION: DDS, New York University College of Dentistry; gen­eral practice residency, Bronx Lebanon Hospital; pediatric dentistry residency, New York University College of Dentistry
NAME OF PRACTICE: Ardsley Family Dental
SPECIALTY: Pediatric dentistry

THE NEED TO further diversify dentistry is clear: According to the American Dental Education Association, there was just a 2 percent increase in the number of dental school applicants from di­verse backgrounds between 2012 and 2021. It’s a vexing problem Dr. Rose Amable knows all too well.

“I vividly remember the challenges of navigating the educational landscape with­out support,” the board­cer­tified pediatric dentist says. “That fueled my determina­tion to create change.”

Dr. Amable left her na­tive Peru for the U.S. at age 19. After earning a dual de­gree in biology and chem­istry from Fordham, she was conducting stem cell research at the National In­stitute on Drug Abuse in Bal­timore while seeking dental experience. She reached out to a number of dentists, but just one responded: Dr. Eduardo DeJesus Rod­riguez. His mentorship shaped her professional journey and instilled in her a profound philosophy: “The best way to repay kindness is to pay it forward, mentor and inspire others.”

To that end, Dr. Ama ble founded the Bringing Smiles Enrichment Dental Program (BSEDP) at New York Uni­ versity’s College of Dentist­ry, her alma mater, in 2018. The program provides un­derrepresented students with clinical dental experi­ence, mentoring, research opportunities and profes­sional development. So far, 50 interns have graduated from the program; 25 are enrolled in dental schools around the country and the rest are applying.

In addition to running a private practice in West­chester County, New York, with her husband, Dr. David Aranbayev (a general and cosmetic dentist), and men­toring her BSEDP interns, Dr. Amable wears many hats. She’s a clinical profes­sor in NYU’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry; is the faculty provider for five elementary school dental programs in New York City; and is a regional clinical di­rector for the Special Smiles Program, the dental arm of the Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes initiative.

She’s also a mother of four, ages 9, 7, 5 and 4 months. Her key to balance: “Embracing imperfections and knowing that it’s OK to lose momentum,” she says. “The willingness to keep pedaling, even after a fall, propels me toward growth.”


Woman to Watch


AGE: 34
CITY: Lilburn, Georgia
EDUCATION: DMD, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Dental Medicine
NAME OF PRACTICE: Smile Pleasant Hill Dentistry SPECIALTY: General dentistry

THE NAME OF Dr. Jullia Kinser’s practice, Smile Pleasant Hill Dentistry, which she opened in Janu­ary 2023, couldn’t be more fitting. The Atlanta­area dentist, you see, has much to celebrate.

Two years into her den­tal career, practicing in Jacksonville, Florida, Dr. Kinser was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. She was 29. With no family his­tory of the disease, the news came as a shock. She en­dured aggressive treatment that year, and when she was finished, set her sights on opening a private practice. Yet she was soon dealt an­other terrible blow: a diag­nosis of acute myeloid leu­kemia at age 31. “I was told I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t get a bone marrow or stem cell transplant,” she says.

The odds of finding a perfect donor match were long given her mixed eth­nicity—she is half­Korean, half­Caucasian—but her care team found one. While she underwent treatment in Jacksonville, her family, who had relocated their den­tal lab to Lilburn, Georgia, took charge of constructing her future clinic next door. “While I was focusing on surviving,” she says, “my family kept on with the build in hopes I would be there.”

She’s now five years breast cancer–free and is approaching her third year in remission from leukemia. “After battling two cancers in five years, many have said that I’m unlucky. But I believe it was a blessing.”

Her tortuous health journey has given her per­spective on what it’s like to be a patient, sick and in pain: “This reinforced my belief that there’s a need for compassion, and [dentists are] in a position where we can truly help others.”

It has also enabled her to approach dentistry with a high level of empathy when treating (for example) mothers who have neglec­ted their own dental health and teens from challeng­ing backgrounds who need extensive care. “Going through [my own medical] process, I’m aware that we all have our own stories.”

Today, Dr. Kinser is fo­cused on building a prac­tice that empowers others, whether they’re patients, team members or direct col­leagues. “We live in a beau­tiful world,” she observes, her voice filled with warmth. “We sometimes lose sight of that, but I’m here to show what a blessing it is.” Smile Pleasant, indeed.

Nicole Barnett



AGE: 38
CITY: Marietta, Georgia
EDUCATION: DMD, Medical College of Georgia; general practice residency, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
SPECIALTY: General dentistry

JOHN LENNON once famously noted that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Dr. Nicole Barnett, who never envisioned herself own­ing a dental practice, can relate.

Dr. Barnett, who works in the Atlanta suburbs, first encountered special needs dentistry during her resi­dency at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she treated patients in the hospital under gen­eral anesthesia. Eight years later, having relocated to the Atlanta area, she met Dr. Da­vid Kurtzman, a local dentist well known for his work with patients afflicted by dental anxiety and special needs. This pair of experiences set her on a new path.

When Dr. Kurtzman an­nounced in 2020 that he was selling his business, Dr. Bar­nett felt a “pull on my heart­strings.” In January 2021, she took over the Marietta office and opened Autumn Dental. “It was one of those moments where I wasn’t looking for something, but it found me,” she says.

Although she had some experience with special needs patients, she admits it wasn’t extensive. Still, she jumped right in. “My patients,” she notes, “have been my greatest teachers.”

Today, Dr. Barnett is one of a modest number of den­tists in Georgia who serve those with special needs. “Often, these patients have been searching for years for a dental home and are so appreciative to have found one,” she says. She sees pa­tients with both physical and developmental disabilities; for more intensive work that requires sedation, patients can elect to go to the hospi­tal for one or two visits un­ der general anesthesia.

Autumn Dental’s staff is entirely female, which Dr. Barnett believes helps fos­ter a nurturing environment for patients: “Our goal is to make sure everyone feels welcome and safe.” Bring­ing care to this underserved population has affected her deeply, both professionally and personally. “I have a softer, more empathetic out­look on the world and with every person I encounter,” she says. “You never know what challenges someone may be dealing with.”

She hopes her unex­pected career path will in­spire more professionals to treat patients of all abilities: “There’s a strong need for more dentists who can treat all members of our diverse, wonderful world.”



AUGUST 8, 1965 – JULY 28, 2023
CITY: Allentown, Pennsylvania
AFFILIATION: The Benco Family Foundation

FEW PEOPLE HAVE made as big an impact on the kind of work that animates the Lucy Hobbs Project as did Rebecca Binder, who passed away in July at age 57 after a three­year bat­tle with breast cancer. Executive director of the Benco Family Foundation, Binder was married to Chuck Cohen—Benco Dental’s manag­ing director and a cofounder of this magazine—for nearly three decades. Her legacy of tenacity, altruism, resilience and grace will long continue —and makes her the perfect choice for this year’s Trailblazer Award.

A graduate of Colby College and Columbia University Teach­ers College, she was a tireless ad­vocate for improving oral health, serving with the Global Smile Foundation and helping thou­sands of people in poor countries with congenital facial deformities get needed surgeries, as well as post­op multidisciplinary support. “Rebecca was an exceptional hu­man being—a compassionate and focused problem solver,” says Dr. Usama Hamdan, Global Smile’s co­founder and president. “She made the lives of those she met easier.”

With the Benco Family Foun­dation, she was a booster of Les­sons in a Lunchbox, a program of the Children’s Oral Health Insti­tute—and its redoubtable CEO, Dr. Winifred J. Booker—that pro­vides supplies and hands­on edu­cation to children in all 50 states. “Her impact has improved oral health for the communities she knew she would benefit from her kindess,” Dr. Booker says. “I am forever grateful.” In tandem with the Dental Trade Alliance Foun­dation, meanwhile, she helped establish the Robert Tanner Free­man Endowment, the first dental school scholarship offered through the United Negro College Fund; and the Lawrence and Sally Cohen Endowed Scholarship Fund for Dental Hygiene, targeted at under­served students interested in a ca­reer in hygiene.

Her good works will endure. The Cohen family has established the Rebecca Binder Memorial Scholarship Fund at Moravian Academy, a K­12 college prep school in Bethlehem, Pennsylva­nia, which will also focus on disad­vantaged youth. Anyone interes­ t ed in further donations can direct their efforts toward Cycle for Sur­vival, an annual indoor­biking fundraiser for the treatment of rare cancers at Memorial Sloan Ketter­ing Cancer Center in Manhattan, where Binder received treatment.

“When I think of Rebecca, I see her sparkling blue eyes and big smile,” says Sandra V. Feder, a children’s author and close friend. “She was full of energy and lived her life on her terms—helping others, serving on boards where she could make a difference and always devoted to her family.”

Dr. Hamdan concurs. “It was a privilege to have Rebecca on the board of the Global Smile Founda­tion and an even bigger one to have her as a friend,” he says. “What we leave behind is our goodwill and the impact on the lives of the peo­ple we touch.” —Jerilyn Forsythe