MCHC Health Centers is pleased to announce the addition of Dentist, Huong Tran.
Huong Tran, DMD, is the first in her family to go into the medical field. Her childhood was spent in Southern California, and she was the fourth child, in a family with six children. Born with cleft lip and cleft palate, Huong’s childhood included surgeries and orthodontics work, which gave her incredible exposure to the field of dentistry and the opportunity to develop an appreciation for the impact a dentist can have on the life of a patient. “I was fascinated that the oral surgeon could create a smile for me. It really built my confidence.” The Oral Surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Orthodontist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) who treated Dr. Tran encouraged her to pursue a career in dentistry. “It took a village to get me to and through dental school and residency. My parents and siblings supported my quest and sacrificed for me, and I will be forever grateful.”
Dr. Tran’s family moved to Vallejo during her High School years, where she became active in sports with softball being her activity of choice. As her senior year approached, Dr. Tran’s mentors encouraged her to apply to the University of Berkley and she was accepted. There she joined the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) program and the multicultural club, where students of color, low-income students, and 1st generation college students receive academic counseling and resources. This club was so impactful in helping her navigate college life that she became involved as a peer mentor and later coordinated the peer academic counseling program.
Dr. Tran’s extensive education in dentistry began in 2015 and includes a dental post-baccalaureate certificate, a Master of Public Health (MPH) with an emphasis in dentistry, a Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD), and a General Practice Dental Residency at UCLA. Throughout her training, Huong also took the time to volunteer at the Berkeley Free Clinic. It was this experience of serving the low-income population that drove her career path and ultimately brought her to apply at MCHC. “When I saw the disparity in dentistry, it became a long-term dream to serve those who really need, but cannot afford, care. I remember we treated a man who for many years had not been able to secure work, he didn’t have any teeth and he had no insurance to get the care he needed. We treated him at the free clinic and a few weeks after we gave him dentures, he got a job! This is when I realized that the impact of dentistry is not just fixing teeth, it is so much more, this man can now provide for his family.”
Navneet Mansukhani, Clinical Director of MCHC’s dental department states, “Dr. Tran exemplifies our mission and values and will be a wonderful addition to our team in Willits. The need in Mendocino and Lake counties, for patients with Medi-Cal Dental coverage, has grown over the past few years, and therefore we need to grow our team accordingly as we aim to keep up with the demand.”
Dentists are being sought at private offices and health centers across the nation; thus Dr. Tran had many job opportunities to choose from. When asked why she choose MCHC, Huong reflected upon the day of her interview several months ago. Dental Assistant, Thalia Canchola, at Little Lake Health Center, had emphatically stated that she gets excited on Sundays because she gets to go to work the next day. That was a big statement about how happy the employees are and it had a big impact on Dr. Tran. The other important factor in her decision was the support she would receive from future colleagues, such as Dr. Phuc Tran, and the Clinical Director, Dr. Navneet Mansukhani. Dr. Huon Tran was looking for a place where she would want to stay for a long time and found the vital elements of teamwork and passion for dentistry, right here.
These sentiments are shared throughout the department, among new and seasoned team members alike. The Dental Manager, Margo Arellano, who has been with the health center for over ten years states that helping people in the community is what makes our jobs so rewarding and on top of that, having a work-family you enjoy spending time with, creates positive energy that draws you to work each and every day.
Scott McFarland, CEO of MCHC states, “I am extremely proud of our team in the dental department. We frequently get feedback from patients about the excellent care they receive, the professionalism and friendliness of our staff. It does not surprise me in the least that this team would attract to it, dentists such as Dr. Tran, who share in our mission of providing high quality, compassionate care.”