Two Alumni Honored by ADA’s “10 Under 10” List of Rising Stars

Two School of Dentistry alumni have made the 2020 American Dental Association 10 Under 10 list, which honors rising star dentists for career excellence in their first decade after graduation.

The alumni – Dr. Ashley Popejoy, DDS ’12, and Dr. Nathan Suter, DDS ’13 – both have improved access to dental care for underserved populations in Missouri. They also have assisted UMKC students with their externships at federally qualified health centers.

“Outstanding young alumni such as Dr. Popejoy and Dr. Suter continue to make us proud,” said Dean Marsha J. Pyle. “They exemplify our commitment to service and excellent patient care. Their inclusion also makes us the only school to have two alumni among the 10 on this year’s list.”

Dr. Popejoy is director of pediatric dentistry at the Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield, which often provides care for people who are least able to afford it. Besides providing care, she manages staff at the clinic and develops its training protocols.

“I am truly honored and believe the entire field of contenders is made up of amazing dentists who have accomplished great things in their short careers,” Dr. Popejoy said. “I am thankful to be part of a profession and an organization where I can truly take care of individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be able to receive the care they need.”

Dr. Popejoy, who lives in Nixa, Missouri, also is a board member and co-chair of programs for the Greater Springfield Dental Society and clinical director of Special Smiles for Special Olympics of Missouri.

Dr. Suter, who lives in Kirkwood, Missouri, has done pioneering work in teledentistry to expand the availability of dental care. Before establishing his own private practice, he was dental director at the federally qualified clinic in Jefferson County, and he also is the CEO of his consulting company, Access Teledentistry.

Dr. Suter partnered with the Missouri Dental Association in 2016 on teledentistry legislation and started a pilot teledentistry program in 2017. He has developed more than $2.8 million in grant projects to extend care to more than 9,500 underserved Missourians each year. Dr. Suter also is chairman of the Missouri Coalition for Oral Health and has received the MDA 2019 Dentist of the Year award and the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award.

At the Missouri Dental Association, Foundation and Outreach Director Paul Roberts said, “The entire MDA membership is proud of the well-deserved honor Drs. Ashley Popejoy and Nathan Suter received. In addition to both of them having active practice lives and young families, I have had the pleasure of watching firsthand their contributions to organized dentistry. From presenting on topics of their passion and expertise at various gatherings to providing leadership at the state and local level, these two dentists are exemplary role models and we gladly cheer their achievements.”