Focusing On Women’s Education at ADA 2016



In addition to many other emerging topics within dentistry, one highlight of this year’s ADA annual session was women’s education.

“Taking Care of #1: An Interactive Women’s Panel,” a 3-hour program, took place last Friday afternoon in Denver. The panel featured Drs. Barbara Steinberg, Ann Spolarich, and Laura D. Braswell, as well as dental hygienist Judy Bendit. The panel examined the physical, emotional, and social issues involved with staying healthy while achieving fulfillment, balance, and success in the lives of female dentists and dental hygienists, said Dr. Steinberg, its moderator.

Dr. Steinberg is a clinical professor of surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine, as well as adjunct associate professor of oral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. She is an internationally invited lecturer in the field of dental treatment of the medically compromised patient and women’s health. “We want women to participate, to pick our brains, and to share with us,” she said of the panel.

Ms. Bendit is on the faculty at the Temple University School of Dentistry and spoke on ergonomics. “Everyone has developed bad habits when it comes to ergonomics, but women have more challenges because most of the [dental] equipment was designed by men for men,” she said. “This program reviewed many of the concepts and products that are new or re-engineered to help us work smarter, not harder, and ultimately feel better.”

Dr. Braswell, adjunct faculty member at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University and at Emory University in Atlanta, is also the staff dentist for Zoo Atlanta and the Georgia Aquarium, and she spoke on balancing work and life. “Surviving the peaks and valleys of life is difficult, especially when you are trying to balance a career and family along with your own mental and physical health,” she said.

Dr. Spolarich is a practicing dental hygienist as well as a physiologist. She is a professor and course director of clinical medicine and pharmacology and director of research at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and spoke about stress. “Women are highly susceptible to stress-related illnesses and are at risk for developing poor coping behaviors,” she said. “Positive coping skills and stress reduction strategies will be explored to help women stay physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy.” 

The panel was a huge success, with no empty seats to be found. For more information about panels such as this at future meetings, keep watching


A panel comprised of all female dental professionals, Taking Care of #1 was a sold-out event at the 2016 ADA meeting. Moderated by Dr. Barbara Steinberg, the panel examined all aspects of women’s health from ergonomics to emotional and physical health to stress management.

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