After a careful evaluation process to find “just the right pediatric dentist” for our patients, Dr. Ashley was chosen because she is totally awesome!
Seriously, she has the highest qualifications and is extremely well-skilled in all phases of pediatric dentistry. Since she will be joining our practice on October 15th, we recently had the chance to catch up with Dr. Ashley. Here’s part one of the conversation:
What is your background?
I grew up in south Florida, in Boca Raton and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida.
After college, I attended the Harvard School of Dental Medicine where I completed a concurrent degree at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government to receive my Master’s in Public Administration.
After completing my training in Boston, I moved to Dallas to specialize as a Pediatric Dentist at the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. There I completed a Master’s in Oral Science as a research fellow through the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Samuel D. Harris Health Research and Policy Fellowship.
Does health care run in your family?
Yes, both my parents are in the medical field. My dad has a Doctorate in Biochemistry and my mother is a medical technologist. So there’s definitely a health care influence from my parents.
My brother and sister are also in the medical field. My brother is in his second year of medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and my sister is a pediatric medicine resident at the University of Southern California.
When did you decide to become a pediatric dentist?
I decided to be a dentist at the end of my senior year in high school and I attribute that decision primarily to my pediatric dentist, Dr. Annie. She was very influential… an outstanding role model, very active in my home town, and set a great example for me.
While in dental school interacting with pediatric dentists from the Children’s Hospital of Boston, my experiences reinforced my love of working with children. I also felt very compatible with the motivation and commitments demonstrated by my mentors in pediatric dentistry. I spent a great deal of time with children while completing a global health internship in Senegal, West Africa between my second and third year of dental school and an international fellowship in Quito, Ecuador following my dental school graduation. My commitment to working in public health was strengthened by the influences of the children I worked with during these experiences.
It was during my third year of dental school after returning from West Africa when I decided to pursue pediatric dentistry as a specialty. I knew that working in an environment with children would be incredibly fun and also bring fulfillment.
Over the years, I became aware that accessing dental care is not only a challenge in resource-poor countries but one that can be found right here in the U.S. During my pediatric residency, we treated many children in Dallas who had never been taught about the importance of oral health, nutrition and hygiene, and many more who had never been treated by a dentist.
We have an opportunity as pediatric dentists to work with families and help advocate for improvements in public health policies to improve the lives of the children around us. Understanding this has motivated me to serve as a child advocate in health policy.