The University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Dentistry (UMKC SOD) welcomed Jessica A. Rickert, D.D.S., as its keynote speaker to celebrate National Women’s Month on March 4. Dr. Rickert’s presentation, “Changing Perceptions … Exceeding Expectations,” covered her unique journey to becoming the first woman American Indian dentist in the United States and highlights what she has learned along the way and how she continues to pay it forward.
John Cottrell, M.A., Clinical Instructor and Director of Minority and Special Programs at UMKC SOD says, “We at the University of Missouri are honored to have the first female American Indian dentist speak to our dental school. All of our students, staff, faculty and guests were captivated by her enlightening and uplifting speech.”
Dr. Rickert’s presentation reaffirmed dentistry as a noble career. She encouraged attendees to foster an inclusive, service-oriented culture for all dental professionals and develop better oral health dental care for all patients. In celebrating all people and their talents, perspectives and cultures, she encouraged American Indian/Alaskan Native students in their STEM studies and shared how the educational pipeline into the profession operates.
Dr. Rickert graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1975. That same year, she established a private dental practice. She served as the Director of the dental clinic at the Children’s Aid Society, a private agency for foster care children, from 1975 to 1982. There she initiated programs in preventive dentistry and orthodontia in addition to providing general dental services. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Rickert provided general dental services for the Michigan Department of Corrections. Currently, she is a clinical dentist at the Family Health Care Organization in Michigan.
Dr. Rickert has been published by the MDA Journal, Society of American Indian Dentists, Association of American Indian Physicians, American Association of Women Dentists, Arizona Dental Association, Dentistry Today, the Prairie Band Potawatomi News and the Northern Michigan University Press. She also authored a book, Exploring Careers in Dentistry. She has had the honor of speaking at state and national annual sessions, professional conferences, libraries and educational groups including universities, tribes and women's groups.
Published on April 8, 2020