In touch with alumni: Q&A with Laurie Inglis

March 23rd, 2015

Laurie Inglis, dental hygiene alumna, Class of 2002, in one of the TAMBCD dental clinicsThis Dentistry Insider quick-read offers a glimpse into the lives of Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry alums, each with a different approach to the dental profession.

Come May, this 2002 alumna will become the first from the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene to assume the position of president-elect of the Baylor College of Dentistry Alumni Association. But it’s not the only leadership role she’s assumed during her career. Inglis, the current president of the Dallas Dental Hygienists’ Society, first became interested in her local, state and national dental hygiene organizations during her time as a student at TAMBCD.

She keeps close ties to her alma mater with participation in the DDHS mentoring program and through a crash course she and a friend offer students once a year, “Private Practice Employment: The Real World.”

Now Inglis shares more about how she spends her time when not treating patients in the office of Dr. Ron Bosher — also a TAMBCD alum — her role as “Coach Laurie,” and that one item she has yet to check off her bucket list.

One reason to get involved in professional organizations: If you would have asked this question 10 years ago, I would have said networking and continuing education. But today, I would have to say the most important reason to get involved in your professional association is the friendships you will make. I didn’t realize when I joined the American Dental Hygienists’ Association in 2000 that it would be the beginning of some of my best friendships.

What you do when you’re not working: When I’m not working, I volunteer in the children’s ministry at church and coach a volleyball team. I’ve always coached recreational volleyball, but this year I’m coaching a competitive team. My brother and I used to play together in a volleyball league and have been coaching together since 2009. We coach my niece and other kids in my neighborhood. One of my player’s little brother only refers to me as “Coach Laurie” now.

Your take on the biggest challenge — or opportunity — within the dental hygiene profession today: The opportunity to provide preventive services to those in need on a regular basis. For instance, I have some patients that come in to our office from an assisted living facility right across the street, but I only see five people from that home. A lot of other people from that facility are not being seen. In a perfect world I would like to see the dental team going to them — staffing nursing homes, assisted living facilities and school-based clinics to provide preventive care.

One item on your bucket list: Go to the Daytona 500. I am a big NASCAR fan. I have attended almost all the races at Texas Motor Speedway. My favorite driver is Jeff Gordon. I am sad he is retiring this year.

Why you mentor current Caruth students: The Dallas Dental Hygienists’ Society has a mentoring program in which interested members each mentor one senior dental hygiene student a year. The very first class that was ever mentored was my class. This program has been a huge success. I volunteer because I want the students to have someone to reach out to with questions as they get ready to graduate and transition into private practice. I still keep in touch with most of my mentees.

— Jennifer Fuentes