Meet Kirsten Frazier, Student Chapter President of the AAPHD at UIC-COD
(American Association of Public Health Dentistry at University of Illinois Chicago, College of Dentistry)

Kirsten Frazier has been chapter president since June 2015. This important job is integral to the success of the student-run dental clinic at Goldie’s Place. As president, Kirsten runs meeting, coordinates the volunteers and scheduling, and hosts fundraising events and informational sessions for students.

Kirsten Scrubs Goldie's PictureWhat motivates you? What are you most excited about or passionate about?
Seeing results. It takes a long time to see the end result, but looking forward to a great end goal keeps me going.

What made you decide to become involved with AAPHD?
I volunteered at different dental clinics and children’s camps in college. I feel lucky to be in such a great profession that I want to give back as much as I can. There are so many people that don’t have adequate dental care. I have treated some patients who can’t afford a toothbrush, or two young siblings who have to share a single toothbrush. You don’t realize how important dental care is until you don’t have it, or until you are in pain. My mom is an elementary school teacher. She has a little girl is who afraid to laugh because she is embarrassed about her smile. She always covers her mouth when she smiles. I want to help people like that. No one should ever be afraid to laugh or smile because they don’t like their teeth.

Has anything surprised you about working with AAPHD?
I knew what to expect from volunteering at other clinics in college, but seeing how happy patients are when they see their new smile is always a great surprise.

Did you have any mentors or people who influenced you? Tell us about them.
In college, I volunteered at a free dental clinic. There was one general dentist and one oral surgeon who volunteered every Wednesday night for 4-5 hours. They were incredibly nice and compassionate. Those doctors taught me so much—not only about dentistry, but also how to treat patients and how important it is to volunteer your time to help others. They made a huge difference in the patients’ lives, and mine.

What are some of your goals (personal or professional)?
I really want to do a triathlon someday.

What is your impression of Goldie’s Place?
Goldie’s Place is a great opportunity for both students and patients. As a younger student, I performed some of my first procedures at Goldie’s Place. It’s less stressful than school when you’re on your own. As a second year student volunteering at Goldie’s Place, I gave my first local anesthetic injections on a real patient and performed my first fillings. It was great because I had a third year student right next to me the whole time, giving me advice and keeping me calm. It was great to have these first experiences at Goldie’s with support from another student who knew the anxiety I was feeling. The instructors at school are fantastic, but they are busy helping multiple students. Performing my first procedures at Goldie’s Place was helpful because the older student was only helping me. I received one-on-one attention.

What advice could you give to our dental staff?
Keep giving the students advice on how to improve. Advice about managing a dental practice is also very helpful because the business side is something we are not taught much in school.