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ADA's 10 Under 10 award winners

New Dentist Committee recognizes advocates, philanthropists, educators

March 06, 2018

By Kimber Solana

Collage of 10 Under 10 winners
10 Under 10: The American Dental Association announced the winners of its inaugural 10 Under 10 Awards, which honors new dentists making their mark on the profession. From left to right (top), Drs. Vanessa Benavent; Jon Copeland; Gerald E. Davis II; Mai-Ly Duong; Michael Kroll; (bottom) Christine Meiners; Hubert J. Park; Kristopher P. Rappold; Amisha Singh; and Katie Vincer Sears.
An entrepreneur who established an athletic mouth guard company. A cancer walk organizer. A founder of a student-run free dental clinic at Tufts University.

The ADA announced March 6 the recipients of its inaugural 10 Under 10 awards, which recognize 10 new dentists who demonstrate excellence in their work, community and inspiring others.

Selected by the ADA New Dentist Committee from more than 200 nominations, the winners showcase the personal and professional successes of new dentists and how well they have mastered the art of balancing the many transitions of being a young professional in the dental world, said Dr. Nipa Thakkar, New Dentist Committee chair. Nominees and winners had to be active ADA members who graduated between the years 2008 and 2017.

"It is remarkably invigorating to see this new generation of dentists — our generation — so efficiently impact change in our communities," Dr. Thakkar said. "These selected 10 new dentists display a passionate and deliberate effort to change the face of the dental profession."

The winners were chosen for making a difference in science, research and education; practice excellence; philanthropy; leadership; and advocacy. The 2017 10 Under 10 award recipients are:

  • Dr. Vanessa Benavent, Clarksville, Maryland. Dr. Benavent is the current president of the Maryland State Dental Association and has testified as an expert witness in front of Maryland legislative committees on behalf of the dental profession.
  • Dr. Jon Copeland, Wildwood, Missouri. Dr. Copeland is an action team leader for the ADA Dentist and Student Lobby Day. He is also a fellow in the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the International College of Dentists.
  • Dr. Gerald E. Davis II, Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Davis serves as the assistant dean of academic affairs at Meharry College of Dentistry where he obtained the agreement with Microsoft for Meharry to be a developer site for HoloLens, an innovative technology that assists dental student in training.
  • Dr. Mai-Ly Duong, Mesa, Arizona. Dr. Duong has an 15-page long CV that highlights her accomplishments in dental science and research, including serving as a research assistant for the ADA Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry. In addition, she organized an annual oral cancer walk.
  • Dr. Michael Kroll, Lawton, Oklahoma. Dr. Kroll is a federal dentist in the U.S. Army. He currently serves as a deputy consultant to U.S. Surgeon General for Comprehensive Dentists.
  • Dr. Christine Meiners, San Antonio. Dr. Meiners is a leader in the Hispanic Dental Association and her community. She initiated a program to influence high school students to pursue a career in dentistry.
  • Dr. Hubert J. Park, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Park founded a student-run free dental clinic while attending Tufts University of Dental Medicine. He is also involved in organized dentistry and provides care to underserved in Boston and internationally.
  • Dr. Kristopher P. Rappold, New Orleans. Dr. Rappold founded RappGuard, a company devoted to custom athletic mouth guards, which he gives away for free to high school sports teams. He also serves as team dentist and provides dental care in international trips.
  • Dr. Katie Vincer Sears, Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Sears operates two dental practices that accept Medicaid in underserved areas in her community. She also offers an educational program for local community members to successfully achieve employment in the dental profession.
  • Dr. Amisha Singh, Aurora, Colorado. Fluent in five languages, Dr. Singh was selected for her business savvy and entrepreneurial spirit. She has a real estate license and owned/managed a convenience store during dental school as a way to pay for her dental education.

"Through advocacy, philanthropy, entrepreneurial spirit and academic advancement, these new dentists particularly stood out this year," said Dr. Thakkar." All the nominees, however, have had tremendous achievements that the New Dentist Committee celebrated in our deliberations."

The winners will receive a $1,000 gift card and be recognized in various ADA publications and channels, including the ADA News and the New Dentist Now blog.   

"To me, receiving the 10 Under 10 award means God has surrounded me with family, friends, mentors and colleagues who have so greatly contributed into my life, that it has become noteworthy to the dental community on a national scale," said Dr. Davis. "Furthermore, I am encouraged to continue being diligent in practicing a lesson my mother taught me, 'If you want to make an impact, find a need and fill it.'"

Several other recipients echoed those sentiments.

"Being recognized as ADA's 10 Under 10 is both exciting and humbling," said Dr. Vincer Sears. "At Scarlet Dental, I have proudly chosen to focus on treating the underserved, those patients who are on Medicaid and managed care plans. This focus is not considered glamorous or glitzy. So this national recognition feels fancy and fabulous."

For more information on the 10 Under 10 award recipients, visit ADA.org/10under10.