Distinguished Dentist Award: Dr. Stephen Simpson

Dr. Stephen Simpson has been very involved with organized dentistry throughout his career. In recognition of his efforts, he will receive the Ohio Dental Association Distinguished Dentist Award on Friday, Sept. 18, at the Callahan Celebration of Excellence, held in conjunction with the 149th ODA Annual Session.

“Through his many years of personal and professional service, he exemplifies a member of our profession who has worked in the service of others,” wrote Dr. Anita Aminoshariae, president of the Greater Cleveland Dental Society, in a nomination letter. “As a part of the Cleveland dental community, he rapidly became involved in all levels of the tripartite.”

Simpson said he’s very honored and humbled to receive the award.

“Having known a number of people who’ve received this award as a member of the House of Delegates and the Executive Committee, I’m very humbled to be considered in the same company,” he said.

Simpson said he knew he wanted to be an orthodontist from a young age. As a child he required some extensive orthodontic treatment and wore braces for about six years. During this time, he became close to his orthodontist, enjoyed the office dynamic and saw that being an orthodontist was a pleasant career that is both challenging and energizing.

After receiving his DDS from the University of Tennessee, Simpson went on to earn an M.S. degree in orthodontics from St. Louis University in 1983. Simpson practiced in Illinois for a short time after graduation, and then met his soon-to-be wife and moved back to her home town of Cleveland. He owned an individual private practice, and recently sold it to Refresh Dental.

“I saw it as a transition from full time ownership and management to being able to just do orthodontics and continue making money before retirement,” Simpson said.

He also served on the faculty in the Department of Graduate Orthodontics at Case Western Reserve University and has served on several hospital staffs.

Simpson said his favorite part about being an orthodontist is his interaction with patients.

“It has kept me younger than my chronological age. Dealing with young people keeps you on your toes,” Simpson said. He added that he likes that orthodontics is a cooperative treatment, where the patient also has to do his or her part for it to be successful. He likes building a relationship and trust with his patients, and he also finds it rewarding at the end of a treatment program to unveil a patient’s new smile.

Simpson has been very involved with organized dentistry throughout his career.

With the Greater Cleveland Dental Society, he has served on and chaired several councils and committees, including the Council on Dental Care/Benefits, the Direct Reimbursement Committee and the Finance Committee. He also served as president in 2001, plus has served as treasurer and editor.

He has also served on several councils and committees with the Ohio Dental Association, including the ODPAC Board of Directors, and as chair of the Council on Dental Care Programs and Dental Practice and as chair of a reference committee. He served as ODA president in 2009-10 and continues to serve as a delegate.

With the American Dental Association, he has served on several task forces, councils and committees. He has served as a delegate and as the 7th District representative to the ADA Council on Dental Benefits and chaired the Subcommittee on Quality Assessment and Improvement and the Dental Practice Parameters Committee. He has given several presentations on peer review and dispute resolution on behalf of the ADA Council on Dental Benefits across the U.S. He also has served as president of the Ohio Association of Orthodontists and the Cleveland Society of Orthodontists.

Simpson said organized dentistry is important to him because it gives dentists a seat at the table with entities that influence the profession, and allows dentists to deliver care using several different models while accentuating the quality of care and ideals learned in dental school.

“Organized dentistry can help keep our values high, and deliver a clear message to the media and those in positions of power that we stand for our professional ethics and standards, and we are not going to usurp or violate or compromise them for the sake of a dollar,” Simpson said.

Simpson is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and fellow of the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists and Pierre Fauchard Academy.

Outside of dentistry, Simpson has been active in activities with his church and enjoys spending time with his family. He has been married to his wife for 30 years, and they have four children and three grandchildren. He also enjoys traveling and reading.

The Distinguished Dentist Award is the ODA’s most prestigious award. It is given to a leader in the profession committed to the advancement of dentistry who is dedicated and committed to organized dentistry at the local, state and national level.