Lucy Hobbs Alumni, Dr. Deborah George and Dr. Nicole McGrath Barnes dedicate themselves to their careers and communities for a better tomorrow

  • February 28, 2022
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Dr. Deborah George, Executive Vice President and Chief Dental Officer at Jessie Trice Community Health System

As two successful Black women in dentistry, Dr. Deborah George, BSN, DDS and Dr. Nicole McGrath Barnes, DDS, FACD continue to trailblaze the way for aspiring young women of color to close the diversity gap in dental medicine.

Their dedication to their careers and their communities has helped thousands gain access to adequate oral healthcare. Both women are alumni honorees of Benco’s Lucy Hobbs Project, which honors Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor who earned her dental degree in 1866, advancing equality for her gender. She defied nearly a decade of resistance, leading with clinical proficiency and innovative thinking; then she mentored others to do the same. The Project was created to honor women with the same vibrant spirit that Dr. Hobbs possessed.

Dr. Deborah George, BSN, DDS paves the way for new dental technologies to close the access to care gap.

Dr. Deborah George is the Executive Vice President and first female Chief Dental Officer at Jessie Trice Community Health System (JTCHS) in Miami, Florida. In this position, Dr. George oversees the operations of seven different dental practices. During her tenure, she has led partnerships with NYU Langone Dental Medicine and Larkin Community Hospital in Miami to create independent Advanced Education in General Dentistry Programs (AEGD) hosted at JTCHS. Dr. George spearheaded the shift to Electronic Dental Records, established a dental practice within a medical pediatric practice and secured training for staff to provide HIV screening in the dental setting.

 She earned her DDS degree from Georgetown University School of Dentistry, Washington, DC and her BSN from Hampton Institute, Virginia. A brief career in nursing reinforced her desire to serve. Firsthand awareness inspired her to decrease the oral health disparities among low-income minority groups, as well as the underrepresentation of African American women in the dental profession. Presently, she leads the integration of teledentistry into the oral health program at JTCHS. In the community, Dr. George serves as founding member and Vice President of a Female Investment Group, FIG, for women and as a mentor to young adults and young professionals. Dr. George was the recipient of the Lucy Hobbs Clinical Expert award in 2019 for her efforts and success during her career at Jessie Trice.

After seeing inequity herself, Dr. Nicole McGrath Barnes knew she needed to act.

Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes has never lost sight of the dream she has since age 15. She knew she wanted to serve through dentistry. After acquiring her DDS degree from the University of Maryland and spending 16 years in private practice, she began witnessing inequities in many communities and knew she needed to act. Dr. McGrath-Barnes created KinderSmile Foundation in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Since 2007, more than 28,000 children and families in that state experienced free dentistry ($7 million in donated services) through the efforts of the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In that time, Dr. Nicole McGrath Barnes has mentored 35-plus high school and college students to pursue careers in the dental profession.

 One endeavor that Dr. McGrath Barnes took on resulted in the expansion of KinderSmile’s dental homes in impoverished areas of Newark and Trenton and inspired her to create an educational dental app for patients that is age appropriate in two languages. Her efforts have been lauded by The New Jersey Dental Association, New Jersey Office of the Governor, and local community impact organizations. Dr. McGrath Barnes was the recipient of the Lucy Hobbs Humanitarian award in 2020 for her dedication to giving back to her community.

Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, Founder of the KinderSmile Foundation.

Nominate inspiring women in dentistry for a Lucy Hobbs Project Award. DEADLINE is AUGUST 1, 2022 for the Lucy Hobbs Project Awards.

The Lucy Hobbs Project, powered by Benco Dental for more than a decade, empowers women in the profession to drive change and deliver results through networking, innovation and giving back. The Project is named in tribute to the first woman in the U.S. to earn a dental degree.


  1. Visit this link:
  2. Select a category. Nominate in one of these 6 award categories:

Woman to Watch: An up-and-coming leader who utilizes her position to create positive change in the industry

Industry Icon: A trailblazer who is consistently recognized and admired for her work in the dental industry

Mentor: An advisor who recognizes the importance of supporting, educating and encouraging others

Innovator: A groundbreaker who demonstrates a willingness to implement new technologies and business processes without fear of potential failure

Humanitarian: An altruist who works tirelessly for a charity or cause that benefits the well-being of others

Clinical Expert: A skillful practitioner who embraces advancements and adeptly integrates them into patient care

Want to learn more?

Meet past recipients of the project’s annual awards: HERE.

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