Dr. Huong Le, AHS’ Chief Dental Officer, featured in ADA article about public health dentists:
“Huong Le, D.D.S., was in the process of buying a pediatric practice when she reached a fork in the road in her career path.
With her husband serving as a physician in the U.S. Air Force, the possibility of being reassigned caused her to second guess becoming a practice owner.
At around the same time, Dr. Le had decided to help a community clinic in Olivehurst, California, by working there one day a week.
“That was about 33 years ago,” Dr. Le said. “Once I started at the community clinic, I felt that commitment to the community, and the rest is history.”
Suddenly, she found herself leaving her hospital job to become a staff dentist, and later the dental director, at the community clinic, where she stayed for 14 years. And in the last 19 years, Dr. Le has served as chief dental officer of Asian Health Services in Oakland, California, overseeing six dental sites that serve low-income and uninsured Bay Area, residents.”
Dr. Le, who in May 2020 was awarded the Myron Allukian Lifetime Achievement Award, says, “I feel very honored and humbled to be featured in the same article with Dr. Myron Allukian, who is considered as a legend in public health.”
Like Dr. Allukian, Dr. Le has taken on more leadership opportunities — larger roles than she first imagined when she took on a one-day-a-week job in a small rural community clinic 33 years ago. She became the first Vietnamese American on the Dental Board of California and has served as president of the National Network for Oral Health Access.
When students and residents from Bay Area dental schools do their rotations at her clinics, Dr. Le doesn’t hesitate to encourage them to take or support the public health career path.
“There’s nothing wrong with private practice or pursuing other careers in dentistry,” Dr. Le said. “But I tell them that whatever they choose, that they don’t forget about the larger community and offer any help they can.”