“There’s a definite family feeling that develops at our school and that feeling doesn’t end after graduation.”
From her first interview as a prospective student to becoming an endodontic faculty member, Dr. Nava Fathi feels a deep connection to the dental school. A graduate of the Class of 1995, Nava developed strong relationships with her classmates, as well as the faculty members who mentored her through dental school.
"Dr. Dorothy Burk, long-time chair of the Anatomy Department, interviewed me initially, and that interview sold me on Pacific," Nava recalls. "We basically talked about everything except for my grades. She was a human being first, rather than just an interviewer. She wanted to assess my personality and really evaluate what kind of person she was accepting into dental school, rather than just an academic."
The ties Nava established while at Pacific encouraged her to accept the job as president of its Alumni Association in 2007. "There's a definite family feeling that develops at our school and that feeling doesn't end after graduation," says Nava. "When I was asked to be the president of the Alumni Association, I accepted because I felt it was an amazing honor to lead the alumni of the best dental school in the country."
After opening a private endodontic practice in Gilroy, California, in 1998, Nava went on to complete the ADA mini MBA program through Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in 2001. In 2004, Nava and her husband, Dr. Abbas Raissi, opened their second endodontic practice in San Jose, California. She now balances the role of business owner, dentist and dental educator with family life, as she and Abbas welcomed twin sons in July 2007. As if that weren't enough to keep her busy, Nava is also pursuing a doctorate in education from Pacific's Benerd School of Education.
"I get bored easily, that's why I've kept pursuing the additional education," Nava says with a laugh. "In all seriousness, I think taking part in organized dentistry and being involved in dental education allows me to relate to my patients better and lets me be a better leader in my office."
Nava is immediate past president of the dental school Alumni Association, a member of the California Dental Association Scientific Sessions Board of Managers and president-elect of the Santa Clara Dental Society Board of Directors. She teaches clinical endodontics at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry one day a week.