Utah’s Healthcare Hero: Dr. Ryan Moffat’s Inspiring Journey to Dental Excellence
Published in the Winter 2023 print edition of Roseman University’s spectRUm Magazine.
Dr. Ryan Craig Moffat, a pediatric dentist and Associate Professor at Roseman University’s College of Dental Medicine has dedicated his career to helping people of all ages, but especially children, access dental care. Recognizing his unwavering commitment to improving dental health for the state’s most vulnerable residents, last month Dr. Moffat was honored with the prestigious Utah Business Healthcare Hero Award for Community Outreach.
Dr. Moffat’s journey is a testament to his tireless dedication and unyielding passion for making a difference. An alum of Highland High School, Brigham Young University, Creighton University School of Dentistry, and the University of Southern California, his educational journey laid the foundation for a career marked by profound impact.
Before embarking on his path into academic dental medicine, Dr. Moffat practiced as a pediatric dentist in Draper, Utah, for an impressive 12 years. His transition to dental academia has allowed him to take his mission to new heights.
As a Healthcare Hero, Dr. Moffat’s story is undoubtedly compelling. However, it is not just his professional achievements that define him; it is also the support and admiration he receives from those closest to him. Among them is Lindsey Moffat, Dr. Moffat’s wife and Assistant Professor and Skills & Simulation Lab Coordinator in Roseman University’s College of Nursing, who had some heartwarming words to share on her husband’s remarkable achievement. “Congratulations to Ryan on being a recipient of the 2023 Healthcare Hero Award from Utah Business. I can’t think of a more deserving person than him! Ryan is truly the kindest and most dedicated person I know. He makes it a point to always leave people feeling a little better than they did before. I think that is one reason people like working with and being around him so much,” said Lindsey Moffat.
One of Dr. Moffat’s standout achievements is the organization of dozens of dental health community outreach programs. These initiatives, made possible through the dedication of Dr. Moffat and the hard work of his dental students, have had a transformative impact on thousands of Utahns who face significant barriers to good dental health. Under Dr. Moffat’s guidance, annual programs like “Back to School Brush Up™” and “Give Kids a Smile®” have opened doors to essential dental services for economically disadvantaged children in Utah.
“For many families, the events provide free annual or semiannual dental checkups,” said Dr. Moffat. “Due to various circumstances, many of these children would otherwise go without dental care until there is an acute and costly problem, such as painful tooth decay.” These initiatives provide free dental exams, cleanings, and restorative care to over 1,000 children each year, ensuring that they start their school year with bright, healthy smiles and the confidence to succeed academically and socially.
“Ryan also has an amazing ability to organize, collaborate, and juggle multiple tasks in both his work and personal life. He not only does it well, but he does it with ease, all while leaving a positive impact in his wake,” Lindsey Moffat adds.
In an increasingly diverse Utah, Dr. Moffat’s commitment extends to “Give New Utahns a Smile,” a program that provides free comprehensive dental care to 150 refugees annually. For those who have often faced unimaginable challenges in their journey to the United States, this program offers more than just dental care; it offers a fresh start and a warm welcome to their new home.
Dr. Moffat’s impact doesn’t stop there. He and his dedicated team have created dental outreach programs that target a wide range of underserved populations, including individuals with special needs, the elderly, those experiencing homelessness and poverty, veterans, and racial/ethnic minorities. Their tireless efforts ensure that dental health is within reach for every corner of the community. At Give Kids a Smile®, patients receive a voucher for x-rays, sealants and $100 worth of dental restorations. The purpose is to provide access to care for the financially challenged and establish a dental home for participants. Attendance has ranged as high as 600 children served.
Beyond his professional life, Ryan is a loving and devoted husband and father, committed to his family and his faith. His contributions to dentistry, education, and the community demonstrate his exceptional character and dedication to improving the lives of those around him. “I believe it is for these reasons he is so deserving of this award,” Lindsey Moffat affirms.
It is no surprise that Dr. Moffat was recognized as a Healthcare Hero by Utah Business. This award, selected by a distinguished committee, highlights not only his remarkable achievements but also his commitment to the health and wellness of Utah’s communities. “This nomination came from people whom I appreciate, esteem, and admire as exceptional colleagues,” said Dr. Moffat. “I am grateful they think highly of my efforts, but we all know fully well these events see success because of the many dental students, administration, faculty and staff who work tirelessly to see it to fruition. What a fun award to celebrate together in recognition of the good things happening at Roseman University.”
In a world where healthcare heroes are needed more than ever, Dr. Moffat’s story is an inspiration to us all, and serves as a reminder that one individual’s passion, determination and leadership can create a ripple of positive change.