When you love what you do, you naturally want to help others find a similar path. Dr. Kim Okamura has gained such joy from her career that she’s now mentoring a dental student, helping her through the educational process and preparing her for a fulfilling career. We always appreciate getting to know our patients, and are excited to tell you more about what’s going on within our practice. Keep reading to learn more about exactly why Dr. Okamura is interested in giving back, and to meet our mentee, Preet!
Dr. Kim Okamura’s Journey to Dentistry
Dr. Okamura has always been interested in the dental field. Turning down a full ride college scholarship so that she could pursue dental education, she began working as a chairside assistant in 1978. She was considering starting the track to hygiene, but a professor encouraged her to become a doctor. She decided to take the plunge and pursue her dental dreams.
Paying her own way through dental school, Dr. Okamura worked at a fish cannery in Togiak, AK every summer over her school break to make ends meet. She graduated with her Bachelors in Zoology from the UW in 1983, then from the UW with a DDS in 1987. With a less than 15% female graduating class, Dr. Okamura has always stood out (for the better). In 1988, she married and also bought her first practice - talk about a big year! Since entering private practice, she’s never looked back.
Dr. Okamura is passionate about teaching and feels incredibly honored to be able to mentor a student. She feels that she would have benefited greatly as a young dental student from the help of an established doctor, and is thrilled to be able to guide Preet through the process.
Meet Preet, Our Dental Student
Preet, a 1st year dental student at the University of Washington, will be working with Dr. Okamura throughout her four years of studies. This new UW program matches interested doctors with students, so that they may form a productive and rewarding relationship. Preet will be visiting our practice and shadowing Dr. Okamura, learning more about what private practice is like so that she can operate a successful clinic of her own one day.
Originally from India, Preet has been active in the Seattle community as a dental student. She’s volunteered at King County Library, Harborview Medical Center, Evergreen Hospital and several other organizations. Her experiences there have helped her learn to be an effective team member and prioritize patient concerns. She is especially interested in helping those who are unable to afford proper medical and dental care.
Like Dr. Okamura, Preet has had dental aspirations from a young age. Upon paying closer attention to dentist-patient interactions, she realized how the dentist’s compassion and confidence soothed patient anxiety and allowed treatment to progress. Preet’s attitude toward dental care takes its comprehensive benefits into account:
“It is not just about the teeth, it is about the person as a whole. An ideal dentist cares about his patient and their desires and it is not just about fixing the problems with their teeth. Patient satisfaction is number one priority of most clinics and hospitals, and over the last couple of years, this is what has encouraged me to pursue dentistry as my ultimate career.
Dentists can improve many aspects of patients’ lives, from their general attitudes to their pearly smiles. Witnessing this inspired me to embark on a path that would lead me to a career in dentistry. I crave the opportunity to form similar relationships with my future patients and gain their trust and respect through my work.”
We’re excited to be working with Preet, and Dr. Okamura looks forward to embarking on this teaching adventure!