Isaac Navarro, DMD, has gone where few ATSU alums have gone before—behind the University’s boardroom doors. As a Board of Trustees member, he holds one of the most esteemed positions at the University.
Dr. Navarro joined the board in October 2012, but he first appeared on the ATSU scene as an ASDOH student. After graduating in 2008, he returned to his hometown of Visalia, Calif., becoming the medical director for three Family HealthCare Network clinics in the San Joaquin Valley.
“One of the reasons I came to ASDOH was to be a part of something really great,” Dr. Navarro says. “ATSU has really grown since I was a student. I can’t even put into words how special it is to now make decisions about that growth.”
At his first board meeting, Dr. Navarro immediately helped make the big decisions.
“It was exciting to be the new guy and have the same voice as people who have been on the board for years,” says Dr. Navarro, who also sits on the ASDOH alumni board.
Prior to his first meeting as a trustee, he participated in an ASDOH alumni board meeting regarding the establishment of The Center for Advanced Oral Health, which was an ongoing topic of discussion.
“In the alumni board meeting we heard the update on the status of The Center, and then a month later as a trustee, I helped determine how much funding should be allocated to it,” Dr. Navarro says.
Describing what it’s really like inside the room where all those big decisions are made, he portrays an encouraging atmosphere where all the members come together with a positive attitude, ready to accomplish the tasks. His favorite characteristic about the board, though, is that members do not vote on issues— everyone must come to a consensus.
“While the issues may be intense, the focus remains on the task at hand, and no one makes judgments,” says Dr. Navarro. “That’s really comforting to me.”
Aside from his duties as a board member and medical director, he also makes time for ATSU students. Serving as the director of student medical education, he takes SOMA, ASDOH, and ASHS students on rotation at his clinics.
Coming full circle with the University, Dr. Navarro has risen from humble beginnings to graduating dental school to becoming a board member of his alma mater.
“I’m fulfilling every professional passion,” says Dr. Navarro. “I don’t think I would be doing exactly what I’m doing had I not gone to ATSU.”
While he may sit behind closed doors as a trustee, his goal is to open more doors for ATSU in the future and help ensure the University fulfills its vision as the preeminent institution for health professions education.
“I believe we’re there in many ways,” Dr. Navarro says. “We have many avenues for growth, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”