For 11 years, Lee Le worked as a police officer in Dallas, Texas. He became accustomed to the lifestyle of protecting and serving others. His passion for serving and caring for people was his reason for becoming a police officer. Le’s beat was predominantly in the inner city. He worked long hours and odd shifts. He saw the worst in some people, but it allowed him to embrace the moments when he truly made a difference in someone’s life.
Now, Le finds himself on a completely different path at ATSU-MOSDOH as a third-year dental student. He never envisioned a career in healthcare until he decided to take an opportunity to further his education.
His police department started a program that covered the costs of college courses for its police officers. His brother, a dentist, suggested he take classes related to the field of dentistry. So Le began taking courses centered on health sciences. While in school, he realized the material came easier to him than most.
“I was excelling in courses others had a hard time with,” says Le. “I felt like that was the first sign I might be onto something special.”
After succeeding in the classroom, Le’s brother suggested he pursue dentistry as a career. His brother had just built a low-income dental clinic from the ground up and wanted Le to be a part of it. Le wanted to help his brother with the clinic and continue his studies, but he couldn’t commit to the clinic as a full-time police officer.
“The station fully supported my decision, and told me I could come back if it didn’t work out,” says Le. “They saw the potential in me, and I didn’t want to let them down.”
That support motivated him even further. He began working at his brother’s clinic as the “everything guy.” For almost two years, he took care of many of the front-end responsibilities such as registration, paper work, scheduling appointments, and even maintenance. All the while, he continued his education. Immersing himself in dentistry allowed him to gain an understanding of the profession from a broad perspective, beyond the view of the provider.
Upon earning his second bachelor’s degree and passing his Dental Admission Test, Le decided to retire early from the police force to apply for dental school. He was granted acceptance at ATSU-MOSDOH and hasn’t looked back since. With a new beat, he is able to pursue his newfound dream of serving others through dentistry.
“I loved seeing smiles as a police officer,” says Le. “Now I can make those smiles even brighter.”