Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Barry J. Currey, DDS
Posted on March 13, 2023
Dr. Barry J. Currey is a Past TAPD President who served in 2000/2001. Please join us in congratulating him for the 2022/2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Name: Barry J. Currey, DDS
Position: Chairman of the TDA Smiles Foundation
Number of years in practice: 42
Where you went to dental school and completed residency:
UT Dental Branch in Houston for DDS in 1976
UTHSC San Antonio for Pediatric Dentistry Certificate in 1982
Number of years as a TAPD member: 40
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD member: I believe in the mission of organized dentistry and the benefits it affords its members and the profession.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member:
That being proactive politically as an organization is better than being reactive.
That treating your peers as colleagues rather than as business competitors is better for our profession and patients.
That your peers can be a wonderful resource of helpful information and support in your practice and personal life.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: How much money it takes to gain access to legislators in order to present your political agenda and seek their support, and then how much time and effort it takes to follow up and get the desired result.
What are you most proud of about TAPD:
That we engender camaraderie among our peers.
That we are recognized by the AAPD, the TDA and TAGD as being the experts in our field, an effective advocate for children’s oral health, and how our political perseverance has resulted in obtaining our political objectives.
What do you see in the future for pediatric dentistry:
That the need for our services will continue to grow.
That better public education about oral health combined with proven methods to prevent and better control dental disease will result in less aggressive definitive care.
What advice would you give to a graduating pediatric resident:
Let professional and personal ethics combined with the “Golden Rule” be your primary guides in determining your treatment recommendations/decisions rather your desire for monetary gains. You have a fiduciary responsibility to put your patient’s best interest ahead of your own.
Word of mouth referrals from patients’ parents and pediatricians are better than big ads online.
That parents don’t care about how much you know until you show them how much you sincerely care about their child.
Don’t try to provide care that exceeds your current level of training.
Don’t hesitate to ask a peer for advice and/or help.
Use conservative treatments when feasible to gain control of caries before providing definitive care.
Don’t believe all the claims of dental product providers – use what materials and procedures have a multi-year successful track record.
Be a perpetual student and practice evidence based dentistry.
Support and be involved in TAPD and TDA.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Kevin J. Donly, DDS
Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kevin J. Donly for the 2022/2023 Lifetime Achievement Award!
Name: Kevin J. Donly, DDS
Position: Professor and Chair, Department of Developmental Dentistry, UT Health San Antonio
Number of years in practice: 35 and a half years
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: University of Iowa (DDS in 1984); University of Iowa (Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry and MS in 1986)
Number of years as a TAPD member: 28
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD member: To help with access to care for children and aid in educational standards.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: Texas Pediatric Dentists are committed professionals to improve the lives of children! When working together, TAPD has great influence on legislation and standards of care.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: I found that legislators and State agencies are willing to discuss what can be done to improve the oral health of children.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: Membership and involvement of members. Clearly, most Texas Pediatric Dentists are members of TAPD. This makes the voice of TAPD be heard!
What do you see in the future for pediatric dentistry: Further advancement in preventive dentistry and restorative dentistry. I believe there will be more support from insurance companies, public and governmental, to help us access as many children as possible to reach our goal of optimal oral health for all children.
What advice would you give to a graduating pediatric resident: Have fun and get involved in organized dentistry.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Alton G. McWhorter, DDS
Posted on December 1, 2022
Dr. Alton McWhorter is a Past TAPD President who served in 2005/2006. Please join us in congratulating him for the 2021/2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Name: Alton G. McWhorter, DDS
Position: President, current Department Head, Pediatric Dentistry; Texas A&M School of Dentistry
Number of years in practice: 43 (37 in pediatrics)
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences: (DDS 1979) Baylor College of Dentistry: (Certificate 1985 and Masters 1989)
Number of years as a TAPD member: 35
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD member: Suzi Seale and I hope that one day my name will be the answer to this question for another recipient of this honor.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: How much fun it is working with people and getting to know them as a result. I don’t believe I would have met them if I hadn’t been involved in the TAPD. More seriously though, I learned how hard everyone works in these volunteer positions, and how much they care about the children and our profession.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: When you start from ground zero like the TAPD did, the first step is becoming known to the players in the legislature. We think everyone knows who pediatric dentists are and how important we are. If the legislators don’t know, it doesn’t matter how important the point is to us, they won’t listen to the discussion. Equally surprising is the glacial pace at which things happen.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: The fact that we changed overnight from a social group of practitioners to a legislative force is what I think is most impressive. When I started in the TAPD, we charged dues of $25.00, and met once a year at the TDA meeting. Harold Simpson had the idea to change the direction of the TAPD and get the organization involved legislatively. We developed a relationship with our first lobbyist, Charlie Schnabel, and as a result, the TAPD is now well known to the TDA and the legislature in Austin and has become a force to be reckoned with in Texas. Another thing of note is that the TAPD is a model state organization and other states look to us as trailblazers in organized dentistry.
What do you see in the future for pediatric dentistry: Continued growth and involvement of the practitioners in the direction of the specialty. Younger pediatric dentists are graduating into a cutthroat environment full of corporate entities who look at pediatric dentistry as an income stream to a hedge fund rather than healthcare. They are aware that they will have to protect themselves and the profession to remain viable.
What advice would you give to a graduating pediatric resident: Be involved; don’t sit on the sidelines and assume that everyone is thinking the same things you are, because they are not. Don’t pay dues to any organization and assume that your dues are being spent to promote causes that you support. Paying dues doesn’t mean you’re involved, that only gives you access to the organization. You have to get in there and find out what’s really going on, then if you don’t like it, you work from the inside and alter the course.
TAPD Officer Spotlight – Kevin Coppola
Posted on June 20, 2022
Name: Kevin Coppola, DDS
Number of years in practice: 8
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Class of 2015: Residency – University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio – Laredo Extension Class of 2018
Number of years as a TAPD member: 5
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD officer: My father (William Coppola) and my sister (Lauren Greene) were both active in the organization and bullied me into joining the organization but joining has been so rewarding that I wanted to get more involved.
What is your goal for the year: I would like to encourage my peers to get involved more in the organization and find the next generation of TAPD officers.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: I have learned just how much you can get done for a cause if you have passion. Watching all of the previous officers make great strides for our organization is inspiring.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: I have been absolutely shocked at how receptive our representatives are if you go to lobby day and talk to them.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: I am most proud at how far we have come in just my short time in the organization. Year after year we only become more organized and influential in state politics, which only goes to better serve our children statewide.
TAPD Officer Spotlight—Alexandra “Alex” Otto
Posted on June 15, 2022
Name: Alexandra “Alex” Otto, DDS
Number of years in practice: 10
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: Virginia Commonwealth University (DDS), Denver Health Medical Center (GPR), NYU Langone-Alaska (Advanced Education in Pediatric Dentistry)
Number of years as a TAPD member: 3
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD officer: Opening my own practice (Kids Tooth Team) and non-profit outreach program (Kids Tooth Team Outreach) has opened my eyes to a new set of issues and advocacy efforts that I was not necessarily as aware of before practice ownership. Having a voice in the legislative process that protects my patients and my ability to own and operate my private practices and non-profit is very important to me.
What is your goal for the year: Getting us all back together! I moved back to Texas in 2020, so I have been missing the ability to connect and network with my pediatric colleagues over the last couple years. TAPD has some great events and CE on the books for this year, so I am looking forward to finally having the opportunity to connect with everyone.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: Membership is key. Having a strong voice to advocate with starts with a strong member base. I strongly encourage every dentist to be a member of the ADA to represent dentistry first and foremost, but it is equally as important to join your specialty association as well. We would love for everyone to be actively involved, but simply joining the TAPD as a member is so important so that we have the voice to represent the interests of our specialty to the profession at large and to the public.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: Maybe not so surprising, but like everything we do as pediatric dentists- it is all about relationship building. The last couple years have certainly presented challenges in maintaining the same relationships with our friends at the capital and in the legislative arena during COVID. As we return to normalcy, it’s so important that we come out in full force to represent dentistry and advocate for our patients and profession.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: As much as we are here to advocate for our profession and specialty, I am proud to see that conversations I have been a part of with TAPD focus first and foremost around what is best and safest for Texas children. From legislation that we promote, elected officials we support, and the CE we choose to provide, the TAPD has our little patient’s best interest up front and center in everything we do.
TAPD Officer Spotlight—Roberto Loar
Posted on June 2, 2022
Name: Roberto Loar, DDS FAGD
Position: Past President
Number of years in practice: 16
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: Dental School – University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Class of 2007: Residency – University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio – Laredo Extension Class of 2015
Number of years as a TAPD member: 8
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD officer: I follow a really strong group of previous officers that inspired me to step up and do my part for the organization.
What is your goal for the year: I would love to raise our membership by reaching out to some
of the regions of Texas less represented by TAPD.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: I have learned that one individual
can actually make a difference. I have seen an idea by one person turn into a grassroots effort to
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: I have been most surprised by the
power and influence our organization holds, and our ability to use that power to help serve the
children of our state.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: I am most proud of our teamwork. Each individual
has different strengths, and they all come together to make what our organization is today.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Harold V. Simpson, II, DDS
Posted on April 23, 2021
Dr. Harold Simpson is a Past TAPD President who served two terms, one in 1993-1994 and again in 2012-2013.
Please join us in congratulating him for the 2019/2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Name: Harold V. Simpson, II, DDS
Position: President – Twice!
Number of years in practice: 40
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: Dental School – UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Residency – Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas
Number of years as a TAPD member: 40
What made you decide to get involved as a TAPD member: Encouraged to join by Dr. Susie Seale & Dr. Paul Taylor
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: Every member can contribute and make a profound difference!
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: Unpredictable, slow, but with a just cause, commitment, compassion, teamwork, a masterful legislative advisor (Charlie Schnabel), excellent secretary (Monica), a small dedicated group can make a big difference!!
What are you most proud of about TAPD: The TAPD gets things done that truly benefit Texas children and every member has a voice and an opportunity to participate.
What do you see in the future for pediatric dentistry: Continuing the role of very early education for expectant parents and young parents, statewide, to help prevent caries and improve overall childhood health.
What advice would you give to a graduating pediatric resident: Know that you have acquired a unique skill set to benefit the children and adolescents you treat. Do the best you can… the kids are not perfect, and neither are we, as dentists. You have worked hard and now have a gift… God bless you in your career and life! If Texas is your home, stay involved in TAPD!!
I truly appreciate this – above any other professional recognition I could possibly receive – not that there is anything else coming anytime soon!Brett, Danny, Bill Steinhauer, Steve White, Susie Seale, Jim Shoptaw, Bob Offutt and many more were TAPD’s early voices of positive changes for all Texas youth and most vulnerable dental population. Thanks to all of you!
My best contribution to TAPD resulted from my close friendship with Charlie Schnabel. Many years ago, the TAPD leadership was looking for a legislative advisor. I had known Charlie for many years as an excellent quail hunter and pretty fair lobbyist- having been secretary of the Texas Senate for 22 years. He personally knew everyone who was anyone in Texas Government! Once we had Charlie on our team, TAPD’s legislative accomplishments were unmatched by any other state pediatric dental association in the nation! Thank you Charlie for your longstanding devotion to TAPD!
I love the TAPD! It’s our ORG! It’s your organization! It’s small enough that everyone has a voice and well respected and influential enough to get things done! And we have! And will continue to! Thank you!!
When you are sitting through these meetings and you think, “Why don’t they discuss this problem?” or “I wonder if we could do this?” Please make your thoughts heard! Monica Fairchild publishes when and where the board meetings will occur. Come to a board meeting and make your thoughts, concerns heard. They are informal and as welcoming as a board meeting can be.
This organization, more than any I have ever been around, is membership driven. So please, become involved, stay involved. How you and future generations practice dentistry literally depends on it! Thank you!!
Two TAPD Board Members honored at the 10th Annual 40 Under 40
Posted on April 21, 2021
Please join us in congratulating two of our Board Members:
Dr. Christian Cabello, Past President from 2017/2018
Dr. Roberto Loar, Member-At-Large, Upcoming Secretary/Treasurer
They were both recognized as America’s top young dental talent!
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Brett Hensley Mueller, DDS, MA
Posted on April 20, 2021
Dr. Brett Mueller is a Past TAPD President who served in 1990-1991.
Please join us in congratulating him for the 2019/2020 Lifetime Achievement Award.
I am presently retired after over 50 years of military, UTXHSCSA professor, and private practice. I graduated from Northwestern Dental School in 1969 and finished my residency at UMKC Children’s Mercy Hospital in 1974. I joined TAPD around 1978 after 9 1/2 years in the military.
The most important reason individuals should be a member of TAPD is the fact there is strength in numbers and obtaining important information that should be acted on as a group rather than an individual. When I joined and attended our annual session we were lucky to have 15 members state wide present at TDA.
I am very proud of the fact that the individuals I served with during my 4 years of leadership in TAPD had as our primary goal to make TAPD the statewide voice for Pediatric Dentists in Texas. The individuals I am talking about were Dr. Stephen White, Dr. James Shoptaw and Dr. William Kemp.
My wife Cynthia A. Banker, also a pediatric dentist, supported me to accomplish this by keeping our home with 4 young children in harmony.
Our goal also included bringing the 3 state university programs into the mix. Our mission was accomplished in 1991 when we as a state organization hosted the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in San Antonio. Dr. Robert Offutt and I were Co-Chairmen and with TAPD and Dr. Sue Seale helping us, it was a home run.
This put TAPD on the map with the American Academy we became the strong voice of Pediatric Dentistry in Texas. I hope the young pediatric dentists in Texas keep TAPD strong with their support and continued membership. It’s so very important to be strong in numbers and mutual support.
Thank you very much for this award there so many people that deserve this more than I.
TAPD Legislative Spotlight—Joe Castellano, DDS
Posted on March 10, 2021
Name: Joe Castellano, DDS
Position: Legislative Committee; Past-President
Number of years in practice: 30
Where you went to dental school and completed residency: UT Dental Branch Houston; Residency- UTHSC San Antonio
Number of years as a TAPD member: 20
What made you decide to get involved as a member of the TAPD Legislative Committee: I have tried to stay involved with TAPD after finishing my years on the TAPD’s Executive Committee. TAPD’s legislative priorities are very important for our specialty and even more so to the children we serve each day. I want to be a part of TAPD’s team that is making sure the children of Texas continue to be well cared for.
What is your goal for the legislative session: To get better reimbursement rates for general anesthesia coverage and hopefully make operating room access easier for our members to obtain and care for their patients’.
What have you learned in your time as a TAPD member: I have learned that our organization is small in the scheme of things, but we can and have accomplished great things. When we focus on what is important- the kids- the folks in Austin understand the importance and are willing to listen.
What surprised you the most about the legislative process: You need to understand how the systems works. Even if a priority seems simple and logical, there are a lot of moving part in the system. Your legislation can quickly get bogged down or forgotten. It is important that you have a great lobbyist supporting the legislation and help navigate the waters.
What are you most proud of about TAPD: We manage to get things done in the legislative process and make sure the children of Texas receive the best care possible.