Emeline Roberts Jones: The first practicing female dentist
When Emeline was 18 she married a dentist in 1854 who believed that women shouldn’t be dentists. Despite this, Emeline secretly began studying dentistry and she filled and extracted several hundred teeth until her husband finally allowed her to practice with him when she was 19. She became his partner at the age of 23 and took over the practice when he died in 1865. Emeline was made an honorary member of the National Dental Association in 1914.
Lucy Hobbs Taylor: The first woman to receive a DDS
Dr. Taylor earned her DDS in 1866 after a long journey. She was first denied entry from Eclectic Medical College because of her gender, but she was able to study with Dr. Taft of the Ohio College of Dentistry where several years later she got her DDS. She opened up her own practice in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1861, and continued to practice dentistry with her husband for over 20 years. Dr. Taylor paved the way for women to go into dentistry.
Ida Gray: The first African-American female dentist
Dr. Gray overcame an underprivileged childhood. After working with Dr.Taft during high school, she attended the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and graduated in 1990. She became famous in Chicago for seeing both black and white patients, and she inspired one of her patients to become the city’s second black female dentist. Dr. Gray was also vice president of the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago.
Jeanne C. Sinkford: The first female dean of any dental program
Dr. Skinford took over Howard University’s dental program in 1975 and became the first female dean of an American dental school. She held this position until 1991 and following this she became an associate executive director of the American Dental Education Association where she was able to establish the Center for Equity and Diversity. In 2015 Dr. Skinford received the Service Award from the American Dental Association.
Written by: Noa Breitman