Friday, October 8, 2021

Since her time at Iowa, Judy Greenlea Taylor (’91 D.D.S.) has had a long and successful career as a dentist in private practice, a leader in the dental profession, and a public health professional.

A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Greenlea Taylor via a STEM and newly developed Honors College pipeline program from high school to college, attended and graduated from Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). Graduating in three years with a dual major in biology and chemistry, she historically was the first graduate of the Benjamin Banneker Honors College at PVAMU. Upon recommendation from her college academic advisor, Dr. George Brown, in partnership with Dr. Nelson Logan, who served in several academic and administrative positions at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, including Associate Dean and a professor of Preventive and Community Dentistry, she was recruited for a minority scholarship program developed and implemented by Dr. Logan, earning her D.D.S. in 1991. She then completed a combined General Practice Residency/Oral Surgery Fellowship at Emory University Hospitals and Clinics. As her public health interest grew over the years, she went on to receive course certification in health disparities research from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and obtained her Master of Public Health degree from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.

Speaking of her dental education and experiences at Iowa, Greenlea Taylor spoke highly of the amount of clinical experience that Iowa students received, even as early as their first year.

“When I would speak to colleagues about their academic and clinical experiences, I felt well prepared coming out of Iowa, into the profession,” Greenlea Taylor explained.

“Drs. Nelson and Henrietta Logan were two strong supporters throughout my academic journey and other endeavors,” Greenlea Taylor said.

During her time at Iowa, Greenlea Taylor was already establishing herself as a leader, receiving the Dean’s Leadership and Dean’s Achievement Awards and rechartering the Iowa chapter of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), a student organization of the National Dental Association (parent organization), dedicated to increasing diversity, inclusion, promoting and supporting minority students during their academic journey. She served as President of the Iowa chapter and was also elected to national office in the SNDA. Later in her career, Greenlea Taylor went on to serve as President of the National Dental Association, where she led national collaboratives and initiatives to promote the importance of oral health, health equity, and advocate for minorities in the profession.

Currently, Greenlea Taylor serves as Dental Director for CareSource, the largest nonprofit managed care organization, serving Medicaid. At CareSource, she provides operational management for the oral health programs to ensure access to quality oral health care. She has also practiced dentistry in the private sector for 30 years and is CEO of her practice in Union City, Georgia (southwest of Atlanta). For many years, she has also served concomitantly in the public health sector as a practitioner with district health departments and as a consultant to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and continues to serve as a public health consultant working with numerous organizations. Greenlea Taylor also served as a contributing author to the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health 2020 adapted by the NIDCR.

She has received numerous honors and awards including appointment by the Governor of Georgia to the Georgia Department of Public Health for two terms. She has esteemed fellowship into both the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists and several state and local proclamations and commendations, community, and professional service awards for her unwavering commitment to the profession of dentistry, healthcare, and the community.

Throughout her dental education and career, Dr. Greenlea Taylor has made it her mission to improve public and oral health for underserved populations—whether through leadership roles in organizations dedicated to that cause, in providing excellent care to her patients, mission trips, or in service to her state and local community. Thus, the University of Iowa Dental Alumni Association and the College of Dentistry wish to honor Dr. Judy Greenlea Taylor with the 2021 Leadership of the Year Award.