Ann Arbor, MI — September 17, 2014 — A graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, who says his passion “has always been to serve in underserved communities,” is on his way to achieving his goal after receiving his DDS and a scholarship from the Hispanic Dental Association Foundation.
Dr. Edward Heath, who received his dental degree from U-M in May, is now in a two-year General Practice Residency program at the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, California.
Growing up in Los Angeles County “where one relied on family, friends, and neighbors to get through the day,” Heath, as an undergraduate, helped establish the Pre-Dental Society at the University of California-Santa Cruz. “It was a much-needed support network for aspiring dentists,” he says. He earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular, cell and developmental biology in 2009.
Reflecting on his four years of dental education at Michigan, Heath said the School’s Hispanic Student Dental Association “was always like a family that I could go to when I needed help. Dr. Kenneth May, our faculty advisor, was always there for me and others when we needed him.”
As he pursued his dental education, Heath founded the U-M chapter of the Interprofessional Health Student Organization. He was also active in the American Student Dental Association, the Student National Dental Association, and the American Dental Education Association.
Before walking across the stage at Hill Auditorium to receive his dental degree, Heath said he learned he would receive the $4,000 scholarship from the national organization. “It was a big surprise and much appreciated,” Heath says.
After completing the two-year GPR program, Heath plans to practice in Los Angeles or Santa Cruz. “I also want to be more involved in mission trips and health fairs as my way of giving back to the community,” he says. Eventually, Heath would like to establish an evening practice where patients could be treated as late as 11 p.m. or midnight. “This is important since many persons work during the day or have family obligations which makes it difficult for them to see a dentist during the day.”
Heath says his interest in dentistry began when talking to his family dentist, Dr. Frank Cortez. “When I told him of my interest, he began to mentor me, explaining how he managed and treated patients for their conditions. I owe him a lot and I want to do for others what he did for me when I first expressed my interest to him when I was just nine years old.”