We’ve all heard the joke about dentists feeling “down in the mouth,” but at least one local dentist is feeling pretty good these days.
Dr. LaJuan Hall, of Brentwood Children’s Dentistry, was recently awarded the UCSF 150th Anniversary Alumni Excellence Award for distinguished service in her field of dentistry.
“It’s such an honor to receive this award and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged for my work,” she said. “I’m happy to be a representative of such a wonderful school, they have so many amazing teachers and graduates.”
Hall, who was anonymously nominated, was chosen by her alma mater from more than 900 nominations. Since the university is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, it decided to award 150 of its degreed and non-degreed alumni with the award. The awardees are individuals who have shown distinction in the areas of research, clinical care, education, business or public service.
The Alumni Association of UCSF began the arduous process of selecting the winners last September, sifting through and scoring each of the candidates. Hall, as an active member of the dental profession, was thrilled to discover she had been chosen.
“I had no idea it was coming,” she said. “I got a phone call from the alumni association, and they said to look for something in the mail. I had no idea until I read the letter.”
Hall has been practicing dentistry for more than 20 years. She began her dental career with the Army in 1982, where she received dental specialist training, and 1994 she graduated from the UCSF School of Dentistry with a doctorate in dental surgery and a bachelor’s degree in dental science. However, her desire to enter into this particular field predates both those accomplishments.
“My family dentist when I was growing up was my inspiration for my career,” she said. “I decided I wanted to be a dentist when I was 12 years old and I never changed my mind or looked back.”
Hall, with her husband and two children, has been a resident of Brentwood for 12 years. She works hard to make a difference in her community and give back as much as she can. One of the ways she does this is through the California Dental Association.
“I raise money and do volunteer work with them,” she said. “This organization does a lot of good. One of my big projects is to help organize the Harvest for Smiles in October. I help raise money and volunteers for the free care clinic. During the two days it goes on, we will provide free dental care for over 2,000 people. That ends up being about $1.5 million worth of care.”
The next Harvest for Smiles will be held Oct. 2 and 3 in Fresno.
“We will have volunteers who are interested in dentistry, but not sure if it’s the right field for them,” said Hall. “This is a great way for them to experience actual dental work and network as well as help people who need it. It’s such a great event in so many ways.”
For more information, visit www.cdafoundation.org.