October 30, 2019

Meet Susan Lee

Hi, I’m Susan Lee and I’m fourth year dental student at UW.

Susan Lee, in front of buildingWhy I chose dentistry

My decision to pursue a career in dentistry started with a mission trip to the Hill Tribes in the mountains of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I spent a week in the Hill Tribes, making friends with children my own age. Despite the cultural and language barriers, I sensed the heartfelt appreciation of the tribespeople from their small gestures and genuine smiles – toothless smiles. Severely lacking oral healthcare amongst the tribe came as no surprise, a result of their financial inability to leave the mountains for adequate treatment and lack of preventative education. Many of the adults were missing teeth and children suffered from rampant caries at an early age. Witnessing firsthand the suffering caused by inadequate oral care, I wanted to drive change in a more enduring way, through working toward a career in dentistry.

Joining The DeRouen Center

I went back to the same Hill Tribes every year for seven years and I’ve always longed to return to the mountains in Thailand to implement oral healthcare for the tribespeople. Working with The DeRouen Center allowed me to advocate oral healthcare for not only the local communities near me in Seattle, but also globally for communities of different cultures experiencing healthcare barriers.