Initially from the Mississippi Delta, Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon made her technique to Nashville to attend the celebrated Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry. Her preliminary plans to return dwelling after faculty and go into non-public follow took a pointy flip when she was provided an teacher place at Meharry, and the mom of two and Lieutenant Colonel in the US Military Reserve carved a powerful skilled path for herself, shortly transferring up the tutorial ranks. Today, she’s supporting college students and furthering their schooling as each a professor and Meharry’s Dean, College of Dentistry. She’s additionally largely answerable for the college’s unimaginable COVID evaluation heart efforts. Please welcome this week’s FACE of Nashville, Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon.
What does a mean workday seem like for you?
I’m primarily in administration, however I helped train the clinics pre-COVID. Throughout COVID, I used to be overseeing the COVID evaluation websites and doing the entire issues that include being the dean. Beginning within the fall, I’m really going again to the place I obtained my begin, which was educating within the classroom versus the clinics. I’ll be serving to out in one of many dental courses. One of many greatest drawbacks of being dean is that I don’t get to know the scholars like I used to; the dean’s place pulls me away from that. Going into the classroom permits me to work with them on the grassroots stage after they’re first beginning.
What’s your favourite a part of educating, and what’s an important lesson that educating has taught you?
Every set of scholars brings completely different dynamics and experiences. I’m amazed at a few of the issues that I’ve discovered from them, and the concepts that I’ve gotten from them. The older I get, the extra disconnected I’m from present generational tendencies. The scholars preserve me younger.
Inform us about your expertise with the COVID evaluation facilities.
We began in March of 2020. Patrick Johnson, the Senior Vice President for the Establishment of Development, instructed the senior management, “Town’s on the point of do COVID testing, and we’ll be ensuring that we’ve a footprint in our neighborhood the place folks can come.” Then, he checked out me and stated, “Now I want you to provide you with the logistics. You’ve executed Oral Well being Day, and also you’ve been capable of work out treating 400 sufferers in a day, so I do know you know the way to make that work.” We really thought we have been solely going to be doing it for a few weeks.
I’ve at all times believed that we have to meet the folks the place they’re. What about these individuals who can’t come to the websites throughout the week? What about those that are nonetheless scared and unsure? We’re based on the muse of The United Methodist Church, so we used our church partnerships, and each Saturday, we have been at a special church. It was lots of enjoyable, and the scholars have been wonderful. I by no means needed to ship out something to bribe folks to return. Typically I’d even should say, “I don’t want everybody this time, since you’re all going to get burned out.” However they by no means did. They have been there each Saturday, rain or shine.
What’s one thing concerning the subject of dentistry or how we deal with our enamel that you simply want extra of us knew or understood?
Sadly, there’s a false impression — particularly in underserved communities— that dropping enamel is a pure transition. That doesn’t should be. Getting routine checkups is vital, and it’s about serving to folks perceive that what you set in your mouth impacts your enamel and oral well being. It’s not nearly consuming lots of sweets and getting cavities. It could actually additionally flip into weight problems or diabetes, which impacts gum illness and coronary heart illness. There are even research exhibiting an affiliation between gum illness and Alzheimer’s. It’s about folks understanding that one thing so simple as getting your enamel cleaned frequently can assist preserve you wholesome, and a wholesome mouth results in protecting a wholesome physique.
You function a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Military Reserve. Are you able to inform us about that?
I’ve been doing it for 18 years. Every year, I do my annual coaching, and I’m at all times doing one thing dental-related. I could go to a spot the place persons are being processed to go abroad to Iraq or Kuwait, and I get them prepared in order that they don’t have any dental issues whereas they’re gone. If they’ve cavities, I attempt to get these fastened earlier than they go, as a result of in the event that they’re out within the subject, they’re placing themselves and others in hurt’s technique to should be transported to a dentist.
What do you view as your greatest success to this point?
My youngsters. My daughter completed her grasp’s and began a Ph.D. program, and my son is in a grasp’s program now. There’s no recipe or information for elevating youngsters; you simply pray that you simply do job and lift youngsters who’re respectful and have good values and ethics. My youngsters are genuinely good youngsters, and seeing them now makes me proud. On knowledgeable stage, it’s serving as dean of the college the place I obtained my begin. Even becoming a member of the college was purported to be a short lived factor, so having the chance to present again to the establishment that has given a lot to me may be very rewarding.
RELATED: Meet the Coach Every Company Needs
What’s the greatest piece of recommendation you’ve ever been given?
“Be true to your self and by no means reduce your phrase or your values.” As I’ve gotten older, I actually perceive that I’m not compromising what I consider in. I don’t reduce the worth of my phrases or the worth of different folks’s phrases. I don’t profess to know all the pieces, and on this place, I’ve a group of those that I name my trusted advisors. After I’m doing one thing they don’t assume I ought to do, I would like them to be brutally trustworthy. Don’t inform me what you assume I need to hear! What I need to hear is your trustworthy opinion. Typically we’ll comply with disagree, nevertheless it provides me a special perspective. So, I attempt to have a platform the place they’ll at all times really feel comfy disagreeing with me. Then, we’re capable of interact in dialogue and are available to a standard consensus.
Other than religion, household, and mates, what are three issues you’ll be able to’t stay with out?
I can’t stay with out sweets! I’ve a candy tooth (says the dentist). That’s my true weak point, and it at all times has been. Touring — it has been tough not to have the ability to journey. And I’m a “Regulation and Order SVU” fanatic. It’s been on for over 20 years. Finally, it’s going to finish, and I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Thanks, Dr. Farmer-Dixon.
Are you prepared for much more inspiration from girls in our neighborhood? Take a look at our different Nashville FACES.