Q&A with Dr. Brett Ballingham, DMD Class of 2015

It’s been five years since the very first class of Roseman DMD students graduated, and to mark the occasion, we reached out to an alumnus from that pioneer class, Dr. Brett Ballingham. Read below about his Roadrunner experiences, and his professional journey from Ogden, Utah to Manhatten, Kansas!

What undergraduate school did you attend, and can you please share any background or family info?
I am from Ogden, Utah, and I graduated from Weber State University. I was part of the first DMD class to graduate from Roseman University. I then did a post grad residency in advanced general dentistry (AEGD) at A.T. Still University. Currently, I am enrolled in the masters of public health (MPH) program at A.T. Still University.

When did you decide you wanted to be a dentist, and why?
I was unsure of what career I wanted to pursue when I started my undergrad. My mother, who is a professor of nursing at Weber St., steered me toward the medical field. From there I looked into every different avenue. I shadowed multiple professions and took my time in making a decision. I chose dentistry and haven’t regretted it since.

You were in the first class of DMD students. What was your Roseman experience like?
The first few months were a little different for everyone, everyone and everything was new. The dental building wasn’t even finished when we started. Once administration and faculty and the students worked through some bugs, we found that it brought us together as a team and we are still a close-knit class to this day.

Who are your role models now, and who are you now a role model for?
Professionally, my role models are the dentists I currently work with. I am part of a great team. I hope to be the best role model I can for my wife and daughter.

What would you say to someone who wants to enroll at Roseman?
I have nothing but good things to say about the faculty and my education I received from Roseman. South Jordan is a great place to live for 4 years!

Pleases tell us about your latest academic pursuit and why you want to earn your MPH.
I am dedicated to the “lifelong learning philosophy” I was taught at Roseman. I have continued to take CE over the years at major institutes and continue learning in the masters of public health program I will finish next year.

What advice would you give to DMD students?
I am very biased toward community health! I would encourage all students to look into community health. There are amazing loan repay and loan forgiveness programs available in community health, there are plenty of opportunities and it is very rewarding.

Please share your professional experiences including your current practice.
I worked in private practice for two years. As a Spanish speaker, I was able to connect with a patient population base that was very underserved. Working with the LatinX community, I was introduced to a doctor at a community health center in Ogden, Utah and was soon hired on full-time as a dentist at that center. I am currently working in Manhattan, Kansas at the state’s biggest community health center. I really enjoy going to work every day with five other dentists and our dental staff of over 30. Together with our medical staff of 70, we set out every day to advocate for each of our patient’s over-all and oral health needs.

You connected again with Roseman as an adjunct professor, correct? How did that happen?
I was connected to Roseman as an adjunct professor when I had Roseman students that did rotations through the clinic I was working at. I have since moved to Kansas and am now adjunct faculty at University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC) dental school as we have students that do their rotations through our clinics.

What do you want to be doing professionally in ten years?
I want to be in community health or academia.

What are your hobbies, favorite charities, etc?
I enjoy golfing. I enjoy reading and playing chess at the local library and online. I have worked with numerous dental charities over the years. We currently work with Give Kids A Smile and Mission of Mercy in Kansas

Tell us a bit about your family!
I am married to my wife Victoria and we have a beautiful baby girl, Violet, who is 7 months old. We also have the greatest pup in the world, who is a licensed therapy dog. We take him to work with us at the dental office and he is such a great helper to our pediatric population and anxious patients!

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
My wife. Also, a big thank you to all the faculty and friends I made at Roseman along the way! There were so many different faculty that helped me and continue to help me. Suzanne and Dr. Ashman, Dr. Harmon, Dr. Carroll, Dr. Winden, Dr. King and Dr. Hupp were all amazing to work with.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I am very grateful for the education I got at Roseman! I am always available to any students that have questions about a career in community health. I can be reached at BrettBallingham@gmail.com