Angela Wilson wears several hats at Texas A&M School of Dentistry. She is program coordinator for public health sciences and the office of social services, as well as the school’s tobacco counselor.
With 22 years on the job, Wilson has built a meaningful career and become part of the fabric of the school, thanks in part to her mom.
“My mom, Ester Wilson, who worked here for 38 years, recommended this job to me,” Wilson said. “She was a dental teaching assistant for a very long time. When I got out of college and needed a job, she recommended me to Mrs. Bartlett, who was at that time the director of social services.”
Wilson was born and raised in Garland, Texas. She attended the University of Texas at Dallas, where she graduated in 2001 with degrees in psychology and criminal justice. In 2006, she earned a master’s degree in counseling from Amberton University.
As a program coordinator for public health sciences, Wilson oversees students’ community service projects. She helps them organize and track their projects, such as “tooth talks” where students provide dental education at elementary schools, or pop-up clinics in other cities.
Since 2007, Wilson has also been the school’s tobacco counselor at the Tobacco Cessation Clinic. She completed a week-long certification course at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which renews every two years with 18 hours of continuing education credits. She is also working on a national certification from the Association for Addiction Professionals.
“The training I have received has been eye-opening to the world of tobacco and addiction in general,” she said. “It has taken a lot of reading and analyzing case studies.”
The school has operated the Tobacco Cessation Clinic for about 20 years, helping patients who want to quit smoking by offering nicotine replacement therapy with patches, lozenges and chewing gum. Wilson meets with patients, giving them their supplies and counseling them on the process of quitting tobacco.
She said “relationships” is a common theme between her two main jobs. She works with students and patients, building relationships that require clear communication and trust.
“I didn’t know that I would need what I studied so much in this position, but then everything fell into place,” Wilson said. “I really enjoy the tobacco counseling; it’s one-on-one. I really get to know the patients and learn how to help them … with the students, too, and the employees and doctors.”
In 2006, just five years into starting her career, Wilson was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease of the central nervous system that can affect one’s ability to walk. It was a challenge, she said, and for a long time she drove around the school on a scooter. Five years ago, however, a new treatment dramatically improved her condition, and she no longer needs the scooter to move around.
“It’s a cool story because miracles happen,” she said.
Wilson said she has seen a lot of changes at the school in 22 years and is excited to see what the future holds. When she’s not working, she enjoys traveling and going on adventures with her schnauzer, Mia.
“I wouldn’t be here for 22 years if this wasn’t a good place to work, and I love the people I work with,” she said.