Welcome to the Team: Meet Dr. Lisa Nguyen

Posted on: Wednesday, 04/15/2020

Lisa Nguyen

FOR DR. LISA NGUYEN, IT WAS THE IDEA of connecting with people and improving their quality of life through oral health that attracted her most to the dental profession. She was also influenced by her uncle, a dentist, who truly enjoyed his career and colleagues. Dr. Nguyen officially joined the UCLA Dentistry faculty as a full-time assistant professor of pediatric dentistry in the spring of 2019, but her UCLA connection started over five years ago when she met Dr. Jim Crall, chair of public health and community dentistry at UCLA. At the time, she was working in private practice treating pediatric patients and helping organizations add pediatric care into their existing models. She saw the impact that UCLA was making on the community and decided she could accomplish a lot more in higher education and public health.

Dr. Nguyen was hired in 2016 as a consultant and educator for UCLA’s First5LA Children’s Dental Care program, where she had the opportunity to increase access to care for children covered under Denti-Cal. She continued in this strategic consulting role by developing and implementing the training framework for UCLA’s Dental Transformation Initiative. Through her role in these programs, she was able to fulfill her goal of helping underserved populations while working with others to tackle complex issues surrounding health equity.

A passion for more knowledge and challenges led Dr. Nguyen to her current position – associate director for the School’s Community-Based Clinical Education Program (CBCE), which launched in March 2018. With Dr. Nguyen’s ingenuity and under the leadership of Dr. Bill Piskorowski, the team has seen the program expand from a 2-week pilot to six weeks of community-based rotations for all fourth year dental students. Dr. Nguyen has also implemented a pediatric residency component of CBCE to deliver care to children in South Los Angeles, which is considered a dental care desert. Currently, she is focusing on research and enhancing collaborations for health equity and the continual process and quality improvement of the program.

“I view being a dentist as a privilege and now being in the academic world, I find I can make more of an impact on public health by increasing access to dental care for vulnerable populations. UCLA has provided me a vehicle for professional growth that I don’t think I could’ve gotten elsewhere and I’m excited for what is to come.”