WINCHESTER - The Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS) announced their new 155th president, Dr. Janis Moriarty, a Winchester general dentist, on June 7 at the Annual Session of the MDS House of Delegates in Newton. The MDS is a 5,000-member professional association and a statewide constituent of the American Dental Association, according to the MDS website.
Dr. Moriarty served on the MDS Board of Trustees as president-elect and succeeds Howard Zolot, DMD. She will be one of 13 women serving as presidents in their dental association this year which is the most in the American Dental Association's 160-year history. 49 percent of U.S. dental school graduates in 2017 were women while 40 years ago only seven percent of graduates were women, according to the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute.
Dr. Moriarty feels strongly about women leadership and stated that “we must continue to cultivate, encourage, and support the different beliefs and perspectives of our diverse membership.”
She is the third woman to be President of the MDS (with the first being in 2007). She indicated that this year, nationally, there are 13 female state dental society presidents, which is the most ever. This does make her happy but she feels as though 13 out of 50 is still too few. She mentioned the MDS has always been ahead of the curve in diversity and inclusion and the fact the MDS has the most female presidents speaks to that.
In addition to her role as a general dentist, Dr. Moriarty is a member of the ADA, the secretary/treasurer of the ADA’s First Trustee District, and a graduate of the 2017-2018 ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership. She is involved in the leadership of Yankee Dental Congress, New England’s largest dental meeting and has served as general chair for the 36th annual Yankee Dental Congress in 2011. She has also been elected for fellowship in the American Academy of Dental Science, the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
Dr. Moriarty is looking forward to her year as president of the MDS. She revealed that over the past five years MDS’ state society has been changing dramatically and they are in the process of revamping the structure of their organization, meaning they will be downsizing it by quite a bit in the governance area. This change is in response to challenges all organizations are facing such as a shrinking volunteer base and having to make it apparent exactly what valued members will get for paying their annual dues, claimed the new MDS president.
The process started a few years ago, Dr. Moriarty noted. Much of her year will be spent overseeing the smooth rollout of a completely new governance structure.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this process through, and helping to make our membership organization stronger for the next generations,” she said.
She also looks forward to being the main spokesperson for the MDS society. She stated everyone will feel comfortable knowing the MDS mission is to “improve the oral and overall health of the Commonwealth through member engagement.”
Her responsibilities for the upcoming year will be planning their agenda to running board meetings and retreats, testifying on Beacon Hill for legislation that affects dentistry, to traveling to their 14 districts to meet with members and the three dental schools in Boston and also attending lots of meetings. She further indicated their professional society has as over 5,400 members which is comprised of approximately 80 percent of dentists in Massachusetts. Two years prior to being sworn in as MDS president she was elected as Vice President. She mentioned that it is a time-consuming position that takes her away from her general practice in Winchester but she is grateful to have her associate Dr. Amy Huang who is always there when she can’t be.
Her involvement in MDS started from when she was a dental student in 1990 at Tufts. She mentioned in the early years of her career she simply attended monthly local district dental society meetings but over the years she got more involved as a planning committee member for their annual continuing education and networking meeting, Yankee Dental Congress. Her general practice was started by Dr. Kathy O'Loughlin, current Executive Director of the American Dental Association, who was also heavily involved in leadership at the MDS. When Dr. Moriarty started as her associate she was a member of whatever committee Dr. O'Loughlin was chairing.
Dr. Moriarty added, "I really enjoy the networking and camaraderie of organized dentistry and have met many great friends because of it.”
She was elected to the MDS’ Board of Trustees in 2006 serving as the inaugural Chair of Women’s Leadership Task Force where their mission was to encourage more women dentists to get involved in MDS.
The members of the MDS are the sole reason they exist, claimed Dr. Moriarty.
“MDS members are highly educated, professionally engaged and committed to the health of the residents of the Commonwealth,” she specified. “Members are committed to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics and adhere to the ADA Principals of Ethics and the Code of Professional Conduct.”
She noted that all 5,400 members serve over three million patients annually.
She also mentioned that “dentistry can be an isolating profession and being a member of organized dentistry allows all dentists to have their voices heard. We are stronger together than we are individually!”
Dr. Moriarty is well known around the community and has many people that admire and stand by her. Dr. Fred White is one of these people. Dr. Moriarty worked for Dr. White, a now retired dentist who was located in Pembroke, her hometown, when she was just 15. Dr. White knew her as a patient when she was just five years old.
He noted that Dr. Moriarty originally wanted to become an orthodontist before she decided to study general dentistry. He said she worked with him at the desk and as an assistant during high school, whether it be after school, weekends or during the summer.
Dr. Moriarty went off to college at the University of Maine in 1989, but still worked summers with Dr. White. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Maine, she attended Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1994, but during the year in between Maine and Tufts she stayed loyal to Dr. White still working at his office.
He stated that she was a good assistant, paid good attention and took a great interest in dentistry. Dr. Moriarty then went on to work as a dentist with Dr. O'Loughlin who told Dr. White that Dr. Moriarty “was one of the best picks out of the whole student class.”
Dr. White commented that Dr. Moriarty always surprised him and his staff at just how much of a leader she became. He added that she is very levelheaded in the way she goes about practicing and serving on the dental society. He described Dr. Moriarty as unflappable as she seemed to handle little disruptions without losing her focus of getting things done.
He noted that “she’ll do well as president of MDS.”
Dr. Andrew Abela, an oral surgeon in Winchester who has worked with Dr. Moriarty for over 15 years, has much praise for Dr. Moriarty as well.
He said, "Dr. Moriarty is a doer who teaches by example. Her hard work, dedication, and empathy are unprecedented in the dental profession. Her passion, energy, and enthusiasm enable her to be a great mom, run a very busy and successful private practice, serve the dental society at many levels and volunteer for multiple charities. It is exhausting to see what she can accomplish in 24 hours.”
He further went on to state that “Dr. Moriarty is also a very warm and welcoming friend and colleague who is committed to her family, community and dental profession.”
Pediatric Dentist Dr. Gigi Garcia-Rogers has known Dr. Moriarty for 29 years. The two just recently celebrated their 25th reunion from Tufts School of Dental Medicine. She proudly revealed that Dr. Moriarty is a friendly, kind, compassionate person who brings people together, especially when it comes to a cause close to her heart.
She continued by stating that “she was inspirational in getting me involved in our dental society when I moved back to Massachusetts. She works hard and gives her all to everything she does. She is a genuine leader and will be a phenomenal president of the MDS.”
MDS Executive Director Robert Boose declared that “we are delighted to welcome Dr. Moriarty as President of the Massachusetts Dental Society’s Board of Trustees. She has been a valued member of our board as president-elect and throughout her previous tenure as a trustee. We are honored to have her lead the Society to advance the profession of dentistry and champion oral health in the Commonwealth over the next year.”