Learn how UB's School of Dental Medicine put Hieu Nguyen on the fast track to professional success
One of Dr. Nguyen’s most memorable program experiences at the University at Buffalo (UB) came through his involvement in the Buffalo Outreach and Community Assistance (BOCA) program. “In 2012, we did a mission to Vietnam,” he says. “We stayed about two and a half weeks, treating about 1,500 pediatric patients. Many of them had HIV/AIDS, Down syndrome, or were homeless.” Originally from Vietnam, the mission struck a personal chord with Dr. Nguyen. “It is really important for you to remember where you come from, and what made you who you are today.”
Today, as a successful dentist, Dr. Hieu Nguyen relies on three essential things: “A strong science foundation, great clinical skills and great patient skills,” all of which he learned at UB. As a result, when he first embarked on his professional career, it did not take him long to settle in and orient himself with his patients because he already had these important skills in place.
“As a dentist, basically I am a supervisor,” he says. “Every day I have one to two dental assistants, and then I work closely with the management and front desk staff, as well as insurance people.” Even after only a month on the job, Dr. Nguyen’s boss was impressed with how he was able to handle many different situations. Dr. Nguyen believes that UB prepared him to enjoy a successful career in dentistry, providing him not only with clinical training, but also with in-demand leadership and management skills.
“I wanted a school known for academic excellence, strong clinical program training, and leading faculty and staff,” says Dr. Nguyen. That is why he chose UB’s School of Dental Medicine over other schools.
After graduating in 2013, Dr. Nguyen received 12 job offers from across the country, from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma. Ultimately, he accepted a position as a dentist in Granado, Arizona – a small community three hours from the Grand Canyon. In addition to seeing patients, he supervises dental assistants and works closely with the management staff. “The Department of Health and Human Services offered me a two-year full scholarship to work in an underserved area,” he says, explaining his choice to work outside of a big city.
“Dentistry is the perfect fit for me. I absolutely enjoy it.”