» Go to news main

Climb every mountain: Dr. Kevin Walsh enjoys a challenge

Posted by Jane Doucet on April 15, 2024 in News
Dr. Kevin Walsh summitted Antarctica's Mount Vinson in December 2023

When Kevin Walsh (DDS’90) was young, his mother planted the seed that he should consider dentistry as a profession. Returning home after a long shift as a nurse, she would say to him, "You don’t want to be a doctor, they work too hard. You should be a dentist!" Although Walsh was born in Halifax, his father was in the military, and the family lived in Germany for seven years. There, he had a dentist whom he considered a role model, which helped water the seed.

After graduating from high school in Prince Edward Island, where his father had been posted, Walsh earned a BSc in chemistry at Dalhousie, then applied to Dal’s dental school. When he was accepted, because he was familiar with the military lifestyle, he submitted his application to the Canadian Armed Forces. "The military looked after my tuition and paid me a small stipend during dental school, which was great," he says. "After I graduated, I was put in a clinic right away at a relaxed pace with mentors all around me."

Mentors were plentiful at dental school, too. Among them, Walsh lists Dr. Gorman Doyle, Dr. Harold Brogan (who, coincidentally, had been one of his Scout leaders in Germany) and Dr. Ronald Bannerman. Dental school was also where he met his future wife, Stacey LeBlanc (DDH’90), who was then a dental hygiene student.

Settled in Windsor, NS
Walsh proposed to LeBlanc in the mountains of Switzerland, and they married a year after graduating from their respective programs. His first military posting was in Baden-Baden, Germany, where the newlyweds spent three years, followed by one year in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. With his military commitment complete, in 1994 the couple purchased a small dental practice from Dr. Allan Stewart in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and they have been there ever since. LeBlanc is the office manager and does some dental hygiene work, and their daughter Miranda (DDS’23) works with them two days a week (daughter Madison is a registered dietitian).

Miranda (DDS'23) and Kevin Walsh

Outside of work, Walsh is an active member of, the East Coast Endodontic Study Club, the International Team for Implantology (ITI) Study Club and the Canadian Academy of Restorative Dentistry. He served as the chair of the Nova Scotia Dental Board from 2018 to 2020 and has been a clinical evaluator for the National Dental Board Examination since June 2017. In addition, he’s a fellow of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and has been inducted into the American Academy of Dentistry and the International Academy of Dentistry.

Walsh also volunteers with the Nova Scotia Dental Association, having served as president in 2011. "As a solo practitioner, it’s nice to be involved in committees and have other dentists to talk to," he says. "It also feels good to give back – you can’t complain about something unless you understand the issues and use your voice to make changes."

In 2019, Walsh started teaching third-year, pre-clinical endodontics at Dal’s Faculty of Dentistry on Wednesdays. "It’s the students’ first kick at root canals, and it’s fun to share my knowledge – and to learn from them, too," he says. "It’s also a nice way to break up my workweek. It keeps me fresh, and it motivates me to keep up on my own continuing education." In 2021 he added a prosthodontics course, and although he took last year off from teaching, he plans to return to it.

Seizing opportunities to improve
Walsh Dentistry Inc. is open Mondays through Thursdays, which is intentional. "I like to keep life in balance," says Walsh, "and you have to make time for what’s important, which to me is work, family, spirituality, and personal interests." His personal interests aren’t for the faint of heart; they include triathlons and mountain climbing. To date, he has summitted five of the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven traditional continents. Left to conquer are Mount Elbrus in Russia and Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.

Kevin Walsh at the geographic South Pole

In December 2023, Walsh summited Mount Vinson in Antarctica. "It’s an amazing place, with 24-hour daylight, no colour, no living things other than our group, no plants, no sounds," he says. "It’s beautiful in a unique way."

In high school, Walsh was a self-described "comic-book nerd," but he always swam because he loved water. Then, in basic training, he started running. "I hated it at first, then I came to love it – I got better and faster, and I love the buzz," he says. "I see climbing and dentistry as a challenge, and I embrace every opportunity to improve myself in both."

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Kevin Walsh Dentistry Inc., and the founding dentist soon plans to drop back to three days a week of practice to "work less and play more. We started small, in a tiny building in downtown Windsor, and we’ve grown to include associate dentists and a staff of 10," he says. "I enjoyed my military service, but it was very scripted – here I have control to make the decisions."

For now, Walsh has no firm retirement or succession plans in place. "Stacey and I love travelling and wine, so when that time comes, we’ll combine the two," he says. "We’d like to take bigger trips, to Australia and New Zealand – there’s a big world out there to explore."