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Dr. Jeff Lineberry was awarded the prestigious Rick Canady Award during one of the most inspiring moments of Spear Summit 2019.

The award is presented annually to clinicians who display Dr. Canady's passion for dental education and commitment to serving as a leader among their peers.

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“Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,” said Dr. Lineberry, whose Carolina Center for Comprehensive Dentistry in Mooresville, North Carolina, is focused on all aspects of dentistry — including complex procedures like full-mouth reconstructions.

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Canady Award recipients are given the opportunity to present a fellow dentist with a seat in Spear's "Facially Generated Treatment Planning" workshop and membership to Spear Online to perpetuate Dr. Canady's spirit of sharing Great Dentistry with his fellow dentists.

“When Rick passed away, we wanted to do something to honor his memory,” said Dr. Gary DeWood, Executive Vice President of Spear Education, about the creation of the Rick Canady Award.

“We wanted to honor everything that he has contributed,” Dr. DeWood said.

“We look for the kind of individual that represents what Rick stood for — love of family, love of profession and love of sharing that love with other people.”

Dr. Canady's legacy of mentorship

Dr. Canady mentored many dentists in cosmetic, restorative and preventative dentistry. He established the first general practitioner-led Spear Study Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He passed away at age 56 after he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer the previous year.

Dr. Canady was very involved with Spear since its inception. In the beginning, only specialists could lead a Spear Study Club. Dr. Canady became the first general practitioner to lead a club.

To recognize Dr. Canady's passion, Spear dedicated a campus lecture room to him during an emotional presentation before he passed in 2016.

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Drs. Frank Spear and Rick Canady at the dedication of the Canady Room at the Spear Campus in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Rick was a faithful father and had a deep passion for coaching his four sons throughout their childhood in basketball and baseball,” according to his obituary. “He enjoyed traveling with (his wife) Debra and spending time with his three beautiful granddaughters.”

Selecting a Canady Award winner from dozens of nominees

Each year before Summit, Spear calls for nominations of clinicians who exemplifies Dr. Canady's motto: “The pursuit of excellence.”

The nominations are given to a select committee, which includes Spear Resident Faculty and one of Dr. Canady’s closest friends, Dr. Jay Dorgan — a Visiting Faculty member who met Dr. Canady at Spear.

The committee receives dozens of nominations, and there are always a few names that are nominated multiple times. But the recipient always reflects Dr. Canady’s undying passion for dental education, involvement with Study Club and commitment to serving as a leader among peers.

Rick Canady Award winners

2019: Jeff Lineberry, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., F.I.C.O.I., A.A.A.C.D.

Dr. Lineberry graduated from Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned his D.D.S. at the University of North Carolina.

A member of Spear Visiting Faculty and Faculty Club, Dr. Lineberry is dedicated to continuing education and mentoring clinicians in his community. He is also a moderator on Spear Talk, a clinician-only discussion forum for Spear Online members.

Dr. Lineberry has emerged as a strong advocate for mental wellness in the dental practice and his recent Spear Digest articles, “How Dentists Can Cope with Compassion Fatigue,” and “Let’s Be Real: Dentistry is Mentally Challenging,” are among the best-read on Spear Digest.

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2018: Michael L. Johnson, D.D.S., P.C.

“When my name was announced as the recipient of the award I was floored,” said Dr. Johnson, a Visiting Faculty member who also serves as clinical director of the nonprofit Open Wide Foundation.

“Being chosen from among my peers, all who contribute greatly to Spear Education, and many who travel great distances, was truly an honor,” he said.

Dr. Johnson is committed to continuing education, mentoring and volunteering. Through Open Wide, the Mesa, Arizona-based dentist has made numerous trips to Guatemala to provide hands-on mentoring to local dentists and dental students to address patient needs in some of the most impoverished areas in the developing nation.

When Dr. Johnson found out he could gift a dentist with Spear’s “FGTP” workshop and membership to Spear Online, he immediately knew which of his peers to share Spear’s foundational clinical content with.

Dr. Matt Kahn, a prosthodontist and one of Dr. Johnson’s fellow faculty member at A.T. Still University, had shown interest in getting involved with Spear and sharing Spear’s clinical knowledge with his students. Gifting the FGTP workshop and membership to Dr. Kahn was a clear choice.

“I know that his influence teaching these dental concepts, at least on an introductory level, will spark the desire of his grads to pursue continuing education at a much deeper level,” Dr. Johnson said.

2017: Andrew Cohen, D.M.D.

Dr. Cohen graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, then earned his D.M.D. at the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry.

The Visiting Faculty and Faculty Club member — who practices in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, north of Philadelphia — is dedicated to mentoring dentists from all around the world, is a contributing author for Spear Digest and a moderator on Spear Talk.

“There are no words to describe the incredible honor it was to be recognized as the first Canady Award recipient,” Dr. Cohen said. “Rick was such an amazing influence on so many people.”

“I hope to positively influence, educate and mentor others like Rick did,” he added. “I am lucky to have known him and called him a friend.”

Dr. Cohen was excited to present a young dentist with a seat in Spear’s FGTP workshop.

“To give a young individual the gift of taking FGTP, which was maybe the most influential continuing education course I ever took, meant so much to me,” he said. “The course single-handily changed the way I practiced and helped me find happiness in dentistry.”