Cassandra Stacy, DMD, is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon with Dakota Valley Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The USOSM partner practice has five locations in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area.
Dr. Stacy grew up in a coal-mining town in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, where she discovered she was allergic to just about everything – grass, trees, dogs, potatoes – and so she began allergy shot therapy, going to the clinic three days a week. For several hours every week, she was immersed in what was happening in the clinic, watching the doctors and nurses and thinking about her future.
“I remember being fascinated by everything there, and I couldn’t wait to become a doctor, too,” said Dr. Stacy. “I had this little ‘doctor bag’ that I took with me everywhere, and I was always asking questions about how things worked.”
Dr. Stacy studied pre-med at the University of Kentucky, taking a professional education preparation program, where the students shadowed doctors for in-depth experiences. She enjoyed the dental side of the program, and after having her wisdom teeth removed, she decided to shadow Dr. Kramer – the doctor who had taken such good care of her.
“I had shadowed other doctors as part of the program, but there were always things that I didn’t like; but when I shadowed Dr. Kramer, I loved every minute of it,” recalls Dr. Stacy. “There weren’t very many women in OMS at the time, but Dr. Kramer didn’t tell me that. I was clueless, and that was a good thing. I didn’t have a reason to fear anything – I had found my calling and I was going to follow it.”
After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Kentucky, Dr. Stacy entered dental school at her alma mater, where she graduated with a DMD. Dr. Stacy worked hard and excelled at dental school, making plans to apply to oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMS) programs for additional training, but she had to overcome a few barriers first.
“When I was in dental school doing an OMS rotation, I was told by the doctor in charge, ‘There’s no place for women in oral surgery. Don’t bother to come on my floor,’ and I was devastated,” says Dr. Stacy. “Luckily, not long after that, our program got two new oral surgeons – Dr. Van Sickels and Dr. Haug – both of whom were amazing surgeons and mentors.”
She explains, “With our first patient, Dr. Haug asked me, ‘Do you want to take this tooth out or do you want to watch?’ I told him, ‘If I get to choose, I want to take it out.’ So, he walked me through the process and I took out the tooth. Afterward, he turned to me and said, ‘I have four daughters. If you want to do this (focus on oral surgery), I’ll help you.’”
Dr. Haug was an important mentor to Dr. Stacy. He was an excellent teacher, and when it came time to apply to residencies, Dr. Haug helped her narrow down her choices. He also served as a sounding board for her, enabling her to practice what she was going to say in the interview process. She was accepted into the prestigious OMS residency program through the University of Minnesota. Dr. Stacy was the fifth female student to be accepted there, and she graduated residency in 2005.
Today, Dr. Stacy offers a full scope of OMS, with a focus on dentoalveolar surgeries. She specializes in people – helping her patients to fully understand procedures, soothing anxiety, and making sure every person receives exceptional clinical care. Her goal is to help each person to feel comfortable as well as completely heard, understood and taken care of, throughout the entire care process.
Dr. Stacy’s care philosophy is to provide each person with the kind of care that she would want, if that person was a member of her own family. She always goes the extra mile for patients and never turns patients away.
“If someone has an emergency, we always try to fit them in that day, no matter what,” explains Dr. Stacy. “And all of us share the same care philosophy and approach, so there’s great continuity of care.”
Dr. Stacy is board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the highest credential that can be obtained in the specialty. To become board certified, oral and maxillofacial surgeons must pass comprehensive exams, complete annual certification maintenance and undergo a rigorous peer evaluation process.
In addition, Dr. Stacy is an actively involved with a number of professional organizations. She is a member of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology, the American Dental Association, Saint Paul District Dental Society, the Minnesota Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Minnesota Dental Association.
When she isn’t treating patients, Dr. Stacy can be found spending time with her husband, children and their boxer. She enjoys being a hockey mom, training at CrossFit, and mentoring the next generation of women oral surgeons.
“There’s still a very small percentage of women in OMS, so if you’re interested in pursuing this, then follow your dreams and work hard,” adds Dr. Stacy. “Don’t let anyone tell you what your limitations are.”
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