Doctor Spotlight: Dr. Latedra Collins, DDS
Position: Associate Dentist
Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana
School: The University of Missouri-Kansas City
Number of years working for Kool Smiles: 2 years
What made you decide to join Kool Smiles?
I have always felt a passion to serve the underserved. After working nearly seven years in public health, I wanted to return to my home state of Louisiana and make a difference in my own community. While attending the 2014 NDA conference in New Orleans, Kool Smiles was an exhibitor. They informed me about job opportunities and how a dental support organization could provide access to care in alignment with my goals. This was one of the best decisions I made. I get to do what I did in public health on a much larger scale.
What is your motivational mantra?
Teamwork makes the dream work. No one has ever been successful alone or without a support system. Spiritually guided, I am grateful to my mentors, family and friends colleagues and co-workers who have had an impact on my career.
Describe your experience as a dentist in one word.
What was your reaction when you found out you were accepted to go on this mission trip?
When I was informed I’d be going, I felt honored that I was selected and excited for the new journey.
How do you plan to live out the Kool Smiles mission on your trip?
I plan on providing quality access to oral health care to an underserved population in a compassionate and fun approach.
How do you hope to impact the lives of your patients on your trip?
I hope to provide healing to those who need it with an unforgettable positive experience and oral health education that can be passed down for generations.
What kinds of experiences do you hope to have on this trip? What do you hope to learn?
I hope to have a positive, unique and cultural personal experience.
I also hope to learn a new language and something fresh and different as I collaborate with other Kool Smiles dentists. In addition, I hope to learn from the in-country team whose director is a dentist.
How do you think this trip will impact your career as a dentist going forward?
Similar to other mission trips, I know it will be a moment of humility that will refresh my soul.
What’s a final piece of advice you have for people trying to make a difference in the world of dentistry?
Those who make a difference often go unrecognized, but let us not grow weary. Find someone who is making a difference for a mutual beneficial relationship.