The 2021 Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery Is Awarded to Dr. Richard Baxter and Dr. Christopher Winkler

The American Laser Study Club (ALSC) awards the 2021 Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery to the following highly accomplished and respected laser surgery educators:

The Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery Award Ceremony will take place at 10 am Pacific Time on Sunday, February 28, 2021, online, during the American Laser Study Club 4th Annual Symposium – accessible for registered Symposium attendees. More information can be found at The Awards will be presented by Dr. Kumar Patel, PhD, and Dr. Peter Vitruk, PhD.

About the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize

The American Laser Study Club established the Kumar Patel Prize in Laser Surgery in 2018. The prize is awarded annually at the ALSC Annual Symposia based on the merits of the recipient’s contribution to the science, education, and/or practice of laser surgery.

The ALSC awarded the 2018 Kumar Patel Prize to Dr. Patel himself for his invention of the CO2 laser in 1964. The CO2 laser’s ability to precisely vaporize one cell layer at a time, due to its excellent absorption by histological water, and its unique ability to delicately coagulate blood capillaries are just some of the features that make the CO2 laser the gold standard of surgical lasers.

In 2019, the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize was awarded to Robert A. Strauss, DDS, MD; John C. Godbold Jr., DVM; and Warren B. Seiler, MD.

In 2020, the Kumar Patel Laser Surgery Prize was awarded to David Duclos, DVM, DACVD; and Martin Kaplan, DMD.

About Richard Baxter, DMD, MS

Dr. Richard Baxter is a nationally recognized speaker on tongue-ties, instructor of the comprehensive online course Tongue-Tied Academy and lead author of the bestselling book Tongue-Tied: How a Tiny String Under the Tongue Impacts Nursing, Speech, Feeding, and More. He is the founder of the Alabama Tongue-Tie Center where he uses the CO2 laser to release oral restrictions that are causing nursing, speech, dental, sleep, and feeding issues. He is currently working on several research and educational projects related to tongue-ties.

Dr. Baxter is a board-certified pediatric dentist and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Alabama Dental Association, and the American Dental Association. He attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry where he graduated at the top of his class. In order to receive a specialty certification in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Baxter attended the residency program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH.

He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife, Tara, and their three girls, Hannah, Noelle, and Molly. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and outdoor activities. He serves as an elder at his church and serves on the board of Reach the Rest, a global missions organization.

About Christopher Winkler, DVM

Dr. Winkler received his Bachelor of Science in Zoology from the University of Rhode Island. A lifeguard instructor and certified divemaster, he dove with and studied the behavior of sharks, rays, sea turtles, and marine mammals in the wild and participated in dolphin cognition research at EPCOT Center’s The Living Seas before studying veterinary medicine.

Following graduation from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001, Dr. Winkler began his veterinary career on Long Island with 3 years of experience in emergency and critical care medicine and surgery before moving on to small animal private practice, introducing laser surgery in 2010. Developing a special interest in both laser surgery and laser therapy, he began training and education in laser physics, tissue interaction, laser safety, and photobiomodulation, becoming a Fellow and a Faculty Member at the American Laser Study Club.

Dr. Winkler is the owner and operator of Suffolk Veterinary Group Animal Wellness and Laser Surgery Center, offering the benefits of laser surgery and laser therapy to his own patients and referrals he receives from other veterinarians in New York and New England. A Fellow of both the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and the American Laser Study Club, he has appeared nationally as a laser surgery instructor for conferences such as the NAVC, NYVet, the WVC, the AVMA, and as a presenter on photobiomodulation for the ASLMS, the Great Smokies Veterinary Conference, and the Colonial Veterinary Conference.

Dr. Winkler is the editor and a chapter contributor of the textbook Laser Surgery in Veterinary Medicine, 2019, Wiley, which was recently named “One of the best Veterinary Medicine books of all time” and “One of the best new Veterinary Equine Medicine Books” by BookAuthority. He writes articles on laser medicine and surgery for Veterinary Practice News and has acted as a consultant for laser surgery and laser therapy companies. As a faculty member of the American Laser Study Club and the American Laser Medicine College and Board, Dr. Winkler is currently assisting in the formation of the Board’s examinations.

About the American Laser Study Club

The ALSC was founded in 2017 to fill the void in the current laser dentistry and laser surgery education system, namely to elucidate the science behind laser-tissue interaction. The Mission and Vision of the ALSC are to promote Science-Based Laser Surgery, Dentistry, and Safety Education. The ALSC helps Physicians, Dentists, Veterinarians, and Practice Staff Members to excel at the efficient and safe application of laser energy in everyday practice. Learn more at