The importance of taking control over your personal well-being was a lesson Dr. Susan Maples learned early on in life.
She suffered debilitating health from birth to age 13; however, through coaching from a caring physician, Maples took the driver’s seat in her own health journey. She now believes that the current culture of medical management should be refocused from sick care to health care and that health professionals can be instrumental in helping people restructure their health journeys. The many entrepreneurial efforts throughout Maples’ career — dentist, speaker, health educator, researcher, author — have all been centered around helping people regain and maintain optimal health.
For those reasons and more, Maples is the first recipient of the newest honor offered in the Greater Lansing Entrepreneurial Awards, the Influence and Impact Award.
“This award of Influence and Impact is such an encouraging boost to me. … It means our community is casting attention to wellness efforts,” Maples said. “Amidst a culture struggling with catastrophic health decline from lifestyle-related, preventable illnesses, our health care system has withered in its response. The innovative tools I’ve created and implemented — with the hard work of my dedicated team — are really making a difference in people’s lives. It’s our pleasure to serve the Greater Lansing community with the gifts of renewed health.”
At Total Health Dentistry in Holt, Maples employs a team of 13 women with her business partner, Dr. Tracey Epley. Through a values-based hiring philosophy, the team share Maples’ passion, vision and mission for helping individuals near and far achieve their best health. Yet it’s her work outside the office where she makes the biggest impact.
Maples frequently speaks at influential health meetings in the U.S. and abroad. In 2012, she was named one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry and the Top 10 Innovators in Dentistry. In 2016, the same year she received the Mentorship Award from the Lucy Hobbs Project, Maples designed, fulfilled and published an award-winning diabetes research project called “Diabetes Detection in the Dental Office.”
For the public, Maples has conceptualized and hosted dozens of events to raise the health quotient in the region — “Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired” on chronic systemic inflammation, “Love Your Heart” on cardiovascular disease, and “Breathe Well Little One” on pediatric breathing and sleep disorders. She has also authored two books that help people champion their own health and ask better questions of their health professionals: “BlabberMouth! 77 Secrets Only Your Mouth Can Tell You to Live a Healthier, Happier and Sexier Life” and “Brave Parent: Raising Healthy, Happy Kids (Against All Odds) in Today’s World.”
Yet for all the work Maples does to inform adults, her true passion is to help children.
She has designed a hands-on learning lab curriculum for children, where they can learn 60-plus indelible hands-on science experiences that focus on helping kids gain optimal health. In addition, she plans to dedicate significant time and energy to helping kids take the driver’s seat for a preferred future.
“I will use the award to spur more wellness offerings in patient care, especially interdisciplinary care within our community,” Maples said.