"I can’t thank the school enough for its dedication to the humanistic model of education. It taught me the value of serving others with the talents that I was given."
Although Dr. Daniel Nam had a passion for music — receiving a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the University of California, Los Angeles — he wanted a career that could provide stable employment. So following in the footsteps of his father, he decided to pursue dentistry. A 2002 graduate of Pacific Dugoni, Daniel has fond memories of his time at the dental school and an appreciation for the school's humanistic model of teaching. However, the most important thing that he took away from his experience at the school was the importance of getting involved and giving back to the community.
"Pacific Dugoni gave me a fantastic education and I am happy to give back to the school that has given me the skills to succeed," said Daniel.
Programs such as the Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) provided Daniel with many volunteer opportunities during his dental school years to help the less fortunate. However, it was a dental mission trip to Fiji that ignited his commitment to increasing access to dental services among the poor and underserved populations.
Since that Fiji trip, he has made community service a top priority in his life and gives tirelessly to many different organizations. He has worked with the Berkeley Suitcase Clinic, California Dental Association (CDA) Cares, the Flying Doctors and the Remote Area Medical (RAM) free clinics. Working regularly with the Suitcase Clinic — a student-run organization affiliated with UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Free Clinic — he has expanded their scope of services in the nine years he has been with the organization. His efforts have allowed patients of the Suitcase Clinic to receive free comprehensive care.
"There are a lot of people who are hurting right now," says Daniel. "Yet they will come and stand (and sometimes camp overnight) in long lines to have access to dental care. We need to work together as a profession, as a group of human beings, to stop the suffering. I want to be part of the solution, not just talk about it."
Daniel has also participated in several RAM free clinics around the nation, working 12-hour days providing free dental services to needy patients. He recently joined the newly formed board of directors of RAM California, which will be working to bring the RAM free clinic program independently and permanently to California. As if that wasn't enough, he was just selected to join the American Dental Association (ADA) Diversity in Leadership Institute, where he will be working with faculty from the Kellogg School of Management and distinguished leaders at the ADA.
"In these trying times where access to care is a major issue, I want to create a model here in Berkeley that others can emulate and improve upon to deliver quality care to our fellow citizens who need assistance with their dental health," says Daniel.
In addition to his work with organized dentistry and philanthropic organizations, he continues to give back to the Dugoni School. He recently participated as a faculty advisor for students on a mission trip in Jamaica.
"I can't thank the school enough for its dedication to the humanistic model of education," said Daniel. "It taught me the value of serving others with the talents that I was given."