By the end of 2019, there will be 13 women serving as president of their respective state dental association—the most ever serving at one time in the American Dental Association’s 160-year history.
For her March ADANews article “Changing faces: State dental associations see most women serving as presidents,” writer Kimber Solana interviewed one of the future presidents, Jennifer Enos, about the changes she’s seen regarding women in dentistry during her career.
Enos began working as a dental assistant in 1999, and at that time, the Arizona Dental Association president-elect knew only one female dentist.
“The increase in diversity in our profession is fantastic,” Enos told Solana. “It allows many opportunities for growth and innovation with the varying backgrounds and perspectives.”
Enos has served on the board for 10 years, and for the first five, she was often the only woman in the room.
But now, in 2019, when Enos attends her local dental society’s meetings, she says the male-to-female ratio is almost even.
According to ADA Health Policy Institute data, 49 percent of U.S. dental school graduates in 2017 were women—a 12 percent increase since 1997.
“The increasing number of women pursuing dentistry is shifting the demographic makeup of the dental workforce,” Solana goes on to write in the article. “In 2018, 32 percent of all dentists were women, up from 16 percent in 2001.”
The ADA Health Policy Institute projects that by 2037 female dentists will make up 46 percent of the dental workforcere anticipated to be 58 percent female.
“Dr. Enos said there’s a multitude of reasons why women should pursue leadership roles in organized dentistry, including giving back to the profession through advocacy and improving public health,” Solana writes.
“Truthfully though, I think they should do it to be selfish,” Enos said to Solana. “Seriously, the people you meet — the other amazingly talented, smart and strong women and men who really care — that you get the privilege to develop friendships with are truly the best people to be found anywhere.”
Those joining Enos as presidents of their state dental associations are:
Dr. Kristi M. Soileau, Louisiana Dental Association; Dr. Maria de L. Castellvi Armas, Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de Puerto Rico; Dr. Cathy L. Harris, Delaware State Dental Society; Dr. Evis Babo, Georgia Dental Association; Dr. Marlene Shevenell, Maryland State Dental Association; Dr. Janis B. Moriarty, Massachusetts Dental Society; Dr. Margaret Gingrich, Michigan Dental Association; Dr. Barbara B. Mauldin, Mississippi Dental Association; Dr. Lindsey D. Jackson, New Hampshire Dental Society; Dr. Sharon K. Parsons, Ohio Dental Association; Dr. Terryl A. Propper, Tennessee Dental Association; and Dr. Elizabeth C. Reynolds, Virginia Dental Association.