Service to others is a common theme in Dr. Garry Myers’ life – whether it’s as incoming president of the AAE, in the military as a dental officer, in private practice as an endodontist in his professional life, or in his private life, as den leader and cubmaster for his son’s scouts group, coaching youth sports, or volunteering for the Iditarod dog sled race, in Anchorage and out on the trail (17 years and counting).
Dr. Myers was born in an Air Force hospital in Virginia, the oldest of four siblings. Along with three younger sisters, he was raised in an Air Force family, where his father was a career officer. They lived in six different states during Dr. Myers’ childhood until his father eventually retired in Austin, Texas, where Dr. Myers finished high school and went to college.
Dr. Myers’ dedication to serving others, both in his profession and in the AAE, prompted him to take on this current role. After graduating from dental school at the University of Texas’ Health Science Center San Antonio in 1985, he served as a dental officer in the United States Air Force for 13 years–first as a general dentist for four years and then, after a two-year endodontic residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, as an endodontist. In 1994, Dr. Myers became a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics, a highlight of his professional career.
“I initially entered dental school to become an orthodontist, but found toward the end of dental school and early in my Air Force career that my interests gravitated from orthodontics over to endodontics,” said Dr. Myers. Mentors during his residency, including Drs. Bill Schindler, Bill Walker, Mike Fuhs, Steve Senia and Steve Montgomery, helped shape his philosophy of clinical excellence paired with a compassion for the patients he treated.
Dr. Myers joined the Washington State Association of Endodontists while in private practice in Olympia, Wash., and soon found himself involved as an officer in the AAE affiliate, serving as president in 2006-07. He was encouraged to volunteer with the AAE by incoming AAE president-elect Dr. Patrick Taylor and, since 2007, has served as a committee member, committee chair, district director, and, most recently, as an executive officer.
“Volunteering for the AAE has been an opportunity to give back to a profession that has been very rewarding for me,” said Dr. Myers. “I continually receive much more in return for the time I invest in the AAE.” Dr. Myers cites developing good friendships and relationships with professional colleagues who share his passion for the profession as one of those benefits.
During a diverse career that included his years in the military, work in private practice as both an associate and solo practitioner, and teaching part time at the University of Washington endodontic program, Dr. Myers honed both teaching and leadership skills. He currently works fulltime as the director of the endodontic graduate program at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.
“Education is truly a two-way street and I have continued to learn and grow from the residents I have mentored,” said Dr. Myers, who is determined to have the mindset and clarity to take input from members to heart as he leads the Association forward.
Dr. Myers’ leadership skills developed from past positions including serving as drum major for the University of Texas Longhorn Band, as den leader and cubmaster for his son’s cub scouts troop, as a coach for youth sports, and during years in private practice, overseeing practice and office staff through both good and difficult times.
“What I have learned is that leadership comes in many forms and requires many skills,” said Dr. Myers. “As AAE president, I will strive to be a strong, but humble leader and I hope that when the coming year passes I will have left this Association in better shape than when I started.”
His goals for the upcoming year include continuing to develop the path forged over the past several years by former AAE presidents. In particular, Dr. Myers cites the work Drs. Terryl Propper and Linda Levin performed, reenergizing efforts to inform the public about who endodontists are and what they can do. The Board of Directors has recently developed a new AAE strategic plan to increase the focus and efforts in this direction.
“This will not be an easy task, it will not be an inexpensive task, but it will be a task that will need to engage all of our members as these efforts move forward,” said Dr. Myers. As president, Dr. Myers will also respond to issues that challenge the profession as they arise, in a manner that is swift, professional and in the best interest of the AAE members.
When not serving others in a professional or volunteer capacity, Dr. Myers spends his limited free time enjoying photography, golf, traveling, hiking and snowshoeing (Mount Rainier is a favorite spot). He is also a diehard Texas Longhorn and Seattle Seahawk fan and tries to watch games whenever he can.
Dr. Myers married his wife, Doreen, in 1979. He and the former elementary school teacher have a son, Jeff, who serves in the United States Air Force as a flight surgeon, and a daughter, Allison, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at the University of Texas in Austin.