Profile – Dentist
Judi Fisch grew up in Voorheesville, NY, west of Albany, and says she always wanted to be a dentist. She did not get a lot of encouragement for that goal, but having spent many hours in the dental chair at age 14, she asked her dentist if she could work there.
At first she cleaned the office and then learned to assist her dentist “who was very good at explaining everything,” she recalls.
She studied at Onondaga Community College to become a dental hygienist, after which she earned her bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Oswego, followed by her dental degree from Georgetown University School of Dentistry.
“My husband and I met in dental school and rather than competing for residency spots, we decided to join the U.S. Navy so we could stay together.”
After five years in the Navy, stationed at Great Lakes, north of Chicago and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, they resigned and took up dental practice with her father-in-law in Rutland. Twenty-six years and four children later, Judi and her husband, David Heaton, DDS, are still practicing general dentistry there. A former president of the Vermont State Dental Society, Judi has recently been named one of two female trustees (out of 17 nationally) on the Board of Trustees of the American Dental Association. In this leadership position, she represents the First District, which is comprised of the six New England states.
Asked about becoming a dentist, she comments, “I truly believe dentistry is a wonderful field for women: we are compassionate and patient.”
Judi adds that dental student enrollment today is about evenly split between males and females.
For those considering the career of dentistry she encourages a mentoring situation to “try it on,” and says she employs high school students to work with their office professionals to assist with various practice-related tasks, including being mentored to help with equipment sterilization—an important aspect of health care. She encourages students to study math and biology in high school but points out dentistry involves physics, too. And that dentist in Voorheesville who encouraged her to learn about dentistry, and gave her a job in high school?
“He lives in Manchester and is now a patient of mine,” she relates with a laugh.