Pediatric dentistry is not my only professional passion, I recognized early on that my reach as a healer is limited to my physical capacity and to be able to create a real reach to provide quality care to children far away and I would have to become an educator. Teaching dental students the art of treating a child would allow me to extend my love for treating children far beyond me. Beginning in 2008, I was hired as a teaching assistant for the UCLA Department of Physiological Sciences, after a few years this evolved into a promotion teaching a training course on undergraduate instruction for new graduate students as they began their teaching journeys at UCLA. In 2020, I was hired as a full time faculty at the UCLA School of Dentistry as an Assistant Clinical Professor. In this role, I was the Clinic Director for the Pre-Doctoral Pediatric Dentistry Clinical Rotations and one of my primary objectives is to ensure that the Comprehensive Clinical Pediatric Dentistry course for the predoctoral students was heavily based in the realities of private practice. In this endeavor, the focus was to increase case-based learning, creating digital learning modules, and converting all competencies and examinations to a digital platform such that students could access their results and areas that need improvement throughout the course of their clinical rotation and beyond. Further, my other addition to the rotation is to emphasize the importance of the doctor-patient-parent triad, a relationship that requires clear, open communication while understanding the parenting approach. I really do get an amazing amount of satisfaction being able to share some of my knowledge with the next generation of dentists.
Pediatric dentistry is not only my dream “job”, my goal, and my focus but also my mission to create a dental home that facilitates a child’s dental self-love while giving their grown-ups a safe space to be partners in their child’s health. Although those days of watching my brother lose his composure as child made me apprehensive towards the pediatric dentist, they also facilitated my goal of becoming one.