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Austin Oral Surgery’s 2024 Lucy Hobbs Project Seeks to Empower Women in Dentistry, Renovate Office Wellness

Posted on Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In honor of women’s history month, Austin Oral Surgery will host its fourth annual Lucy Hobbs Project, March 1 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at The Norris Center in Austin. Named for Lucy Hobbs Taylor – the first woman to earn a dental degree – the annual event was designed to empower and inspire all women who work in dentistry and related fields. This year’s theme, “Renovate Your Office Wellness,” will focus on the renovation, revitalization and rejuvenation of dental teams.

“Burnout has been a real and significant threat to our industry for years, and unfortunately, it’s affecting more and more people,” said Renee Dixon, marketing director at Austin Oral Surgery. “We want to reverse that, to equip women throughout our industry with the tools they need to overcome burnout and restore happiness, productivity and engagement in the workplace.”

This year’s key note will focus on belonging, an innate human desire for connection and acceptance, which is directly related to office wellness. A wide variety of research indicates that belonging helps to create a happier, more productive workforce, which among other things, leads to better employee retention, improved customer/patient satisfaction and increased profitability.

In fact, Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report ranked belonging as the top human capital issue that organizations face today. The Lucy Hobbs key note presentation will directly address this. Key note speakers Whitney Nelson and Brettne Shootman, the dynamic sister duo behind Brilliant People,™ will introduce the concept of belonging, reveal how belonging at work affects both individual and team wellness, and examine how personality types influence belonging.

Nelson also will serve as the event’s returning guest MC. Additional presentations include: End Human Trafficking, Ignite Hope; The Strong Mind Initiative: Our Sisterhood; Breaking Up With Dentistry: You Don’t Call Me Darlin, Darlin and Benefits That Matter.

End Human Trafficking, Ignite Hope will be presented by Liz Griffin, the executive director of Unbound Now Austin, a 501c3 nonprofit that is dedicated to extinguishing human trafficking and igniting hope. According to the International Labour Organization, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, with more than 40 million victims, worldwide.

“We believe the dental community is in a unique position to help eradicate human trafficking because there are several warning signs that can be found in the mouth, and with the right training, dental professionals can correctly identify these warning signs and act on them, without putting themselves or their patients in further danger,” explained Dixon.

The Strong Mind Initiative: Our Sisterhood will be presented by Anne Rice of Oral Systemic Seminars. Rice will offer insight on the unique role estrogen has on female brains and the impact of X chromosomes, provide tips for achieving a more well-nourished brain, and demonstrate how Kirtan Kriya meditation can enhance cognition.

Breaking Up With Dentistry: You Don’t Call Me Darlin, Darlin will be presented by Kandice Swathout of Inspired Education & Wellness and Muffins & Mimosas Dental Study Club. Swathout will define burnout and its causes, explain how chronic stress can lead to chronic illness, and discuss mental health strategies to reduce stress in a demanding work environment.

Swathout also will serve as the moderator for the panel discussion Benefits That Matter. The discussion will include both employee and employer perspectives. It will identify which benefits mean the most to team members during different seasons of life, explain why the benefits that matter, do, and explore how work culture can be considered part of the benefits package.

Lucy Hobbs Project attendees will have the opportunity to earn up to five units of continuing education credit. In addition, the event will include a brunch buffet, networking, shopping and opportunities to raise funds and awareness for Unbound Now Austin.

About Austin Oral Surgery: When Doctors James Fricke and Sam Fason established Austin Oral Surgery more than 50 years ago, they had one goal in mind: to put patients first. Austin Oral Surgery continues that legacy of exceptional care today, treating patients with a wide variety of oral/maxillofacial needs from wisdom teeth removal and corrective jaw surgery to dental implants and more. For more information, visit


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