About half of today’s dental school graduates are women. But things were much different in 1866 when Lucy Hobbs graduated from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery and became the nation’s first licensed female dentist. Benco Dental continues to remember this trailblazing practitioner with its Lucy Hobbs Project 5th Annual Celebration on April 27 and April 28 at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia. During the event, the company will honor 6 of today’s groundbreaking female dentistry professionals.

Patricia L. Blanton, DDS, MS, PhD, will receive the Industry Icon award. In addition to her work as the owner of a private practice in periodontics and implantology in Charleston, SC, she has held a series of high-level academic positions at the Medical University of South Carolina. Also, she was the first female president of the Texas Dental Association and recently served as vice president of the ADA and president of the American College of Dentists (ACD). She is a recipient of the ACD’s highest honor, the William John Gies Award. And, she is one of Dentistry Today’s Leaders in Continuing Education.

Winifred J. Booker, DDS, will receive the Humanitarian award. An owner of a pediatric dental practice in Owings Mills, Md, she also established the Children’s Oral Health Institute, where she serves as the CEO and director of development. Its Lessons in a Lunch Box: Healthy Teeth Essentials & Facts About Snacks program is on track to reach all 50 states and 50,000 elementary school children in 2017. Also, she was instrumental in passing and preserving a 2012 state law requiring oral health education to be taught in all Maryland public schools.

Margaret Fickess, RDA, CDA, Med, will receive the Innovator award. She is the program director for dental assisting at San Diego Mesa College, where she designed an 11-chair dental clinic for the Allied Health Building. Also, she has served in nearly every capacity with the San Diego Dental Assistants Society and the California Dental Assistants Association for nearly 50 years. She has volunteered with CDA Cares and the Children’s Dental Health Clinic while providing dental education for the underserved at schools, daycare centers, and the Braille Institute for the Blind as well.

Emily Ishkanian, DMD, will receive the Mentor award. In 2011, she established the Southern Nevada New Dentists Committee of the ADA. Currently, she is the chair of the ADA’s New Dentist Committee. She also was named a University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine Alumni of the Year and is embedded in local, state, and national work to help dentists transition from school to practice. She is a member of the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and she provides care to patients in Henderson, Nev.

Irene Marron-Tarrazzi, DMD, MS, will receive the Woman to Watch award. At 42 years old, she is the youngest elected vice president of the ADA. A periodontist in private practice in Miami, she had been serving on the ADA New Dentist Committee while holding positions at the state and local levels. She holds a DMD from Universidad Central de Venezuela, a DMD from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, and a master’s in science and certificate in periodontology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Andrea Joy Smith, DDS, will receive the Clinical Expertise award. She began her dental career as a volunteer for the University of Southern California Mobile Dental Clinic and has since spent 22 years in community healthcare and private practice. A published Diplomate with the International Academy of Mini Dental Implants, she uses technology to provide less costly and invasive alternatives to medically compromised patients unable to receive conventional dental implants. Also, she is the founder of the Smile Again Now Foundation, which extends access to dental care to members of the Sacramento community in need.

With more than 9,000 members, the Lucy Hobbs Project aims to empower women in dentistry to drive change and deliver success through networking, innovation, and giving back. It also strives to bring women together from all facets of the dental profession, including dentists, dental assistants, hygienists, receptionists, and sales representatives. It is free to join, and it offers networking opportunities, educational programs, and charitable events.