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Nashville endodontist elected first female president of Tennessee Dental Association

July 18, 2019

By David Burger

Editor’s note: This is the fifth article in an ADA News series examining the changing demographics and increasing diversity in dentistry.

Changing Face of Dentistry logoFranklin, Tenn. — Dr. Terryl Propper, a Nashville endodontist, likes to quote the first and only female prime minister of India, Indira Ghandi: “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those that take the credit. There is less competition in the first group.”

Doing the work has led Dr. Propper to be elected, and now serve, as the first female president of the Tennessee Dental Association.

“It has taken 152 years to be elected as the first female president of the TDA,” Dr. Propper said. “I have been involved in organized dentistry since I was a student at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and it has taken me 36 years of proven leadership to reach this pinnacle.”

Dr. Propper
Dr. Propper said that her gender is incidental.

“It is my record as a leader, as a change agent, as an inspiration to those around me, as someone who leads by example, to reach further, try harder, aspire to loftier goals and think strategically toward the future that allowed me this opportunity of leading the TDA," she said. "In order for female dentists to aspire to leadership roles, they must position themselves to be included in the pipeline of viable candidates. The time is now for new leaders to emerge and occupy the seats at the boardroom table.”

Dr. Propper has retired as the senior partner of a group endodontic practice in Nashville, where she served as chief executive officer.  She had been with the multi-doctor, multi-location group for three decades and had been a Tennessee Dental Association member since 1982.

Dr. Propper has served in every office of the Nashville Dental Society and when elected president in 2001, she was only the second woman to hold that office in 50 years.