Mentoring by example: Q&A with Dr. Kevin Seidler ’78

September 30th, 2015

Whether he’s half a world away providing dental care to those in some of life’s most dire circumstances, or offering advice to first-year dental students through the Great Expectations program right here in Dallas, this alumnus has a single guiding rule that overshadows all others: Always put your patient first.

Dr. Kevin Seidler ’78 runs a successful dental practice in The Colony, Texas. But nearly 20 years ago, he felt inspired to do more. In 1998, ServingHIM — Healthcare International Ministries — was born with the first trip to Romania to start a dental clinic. Since then, he has traversed the globe countless times to Romania and other locations such as Ukraine, Guatemala, Moldova and more to deliver much-needed medical and dental services as well as humanitarian aid.

The mission work, coupled with maintaining a family dentistry practice, is equivalent to two full-time jobs. Despite the balancing act, Seidler carves out time to serve as a mentor in the Great Expectations program at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry. His experiences at home and abroad resonate with dental students — some have even joined him on missions. Here’s more on what he hopes to impart to the next generation of dental professionals through TAMBCD’s mentoring program.

As a Great Expectations mentor, what is one piece of advice you share with students more than anything else? 

Understand the great privilege that has been afforded you as a dentist to be given the opportunity to enhance a person’s life through dental health care. Always keep your patient No. 1.

How do your mission travels also provide mentoring experiences to dental students? 

When mentoring dental students “the ability to impact the world” comes to life. Students on mission trips experience firsthand the intricacies of interdisciplinary health care. Students observe dentists working in concert with many medical disciplines to advance a patient’s health needs. This is very impactful not only to the student but also the participating dentist.

Between your dental practice and ServingHIM, you juggle two full-time jobs. What does it mean to you to “do the right thing” with regard to your dual professional calling?

Personally, dentistry is a tool to meet and help people. There are so many hurting people, and the profession of dentistry has allowed me to participate in patients’ lives in a meaningful way. To help people — do no harm — is our mandate. To do so at home, in Dallas, is a thrill, and to do so around the world, words cannot describe.

— Arthur Upton