Some may call it a twist of fate that brought Dr. April Samuels to the staff of Hope Clinic as full-time dentist – but she believes it was the work of a higher power.
Since she received her degree in dentistry from the University of Michigan in 2007, Samuels has worked in several practices in the Dallas area, but, not too long ago, she and her husband, Hank and their daughter, Hope, moved into their new home in Red Oak.
“We were trying to get to downtown Waxahachie to find the tax office and pay our property taxes – but we got lost and ended up on Jefferson Street over here,” she said. “We passed by the buildings that were painted a bright yellow and saw the sign that said Hope Clinic and I asked Hank, ‘I wonder what they do there?’ ”
When they returned home, she looked online at the Hope Clinic website and discovered it was the type of service she had dreamed of becoming a part of – to work for the underserved population and to especially serve children in dentistry.
“Then I looked and saw that they were taking applications for a full-time dentist,” she said. “I came and interviewed and got the job – and besides that, our daughter’s name is Hope – so that means that I’m supposed to be here.”
The Carson, Calif., native and graduate of Southgate High School, in a suburb of Los Angeles, received her bachelor of science degree in psychology/pre-dentistry from Louisiana State University and later received her D.D.S. degree from the University of Michigan, where she met her future husband, Hank, who serves with the Dallas Fire Department.
The couple made their home in the Dallas area, where she practiced dentistry at a private practice in Oak Cliff owned by Dr. Diane Earle, who operated the practice for 30 years. Later Monarch Dentistry bought the practice out and Samuels worked for Monarch before accepting a position with South Texas Dental in Duncanville. From there, she practiced at All Smiles Dentistry in Mesquite prior to coming to Hope Clinic.
She expressed her reasons for not only being in the dental profession, but serving in a facility like Hope Clinic where she can serve the underserved.
“I like everything about dentistry – I like explaining the process to patients, giving them the answers they need, by making them feel comfortable and making the visit to the dentist a positive experience,” she said. “I like to personalize it to my patients. You know, when I worked in a corporate setting, it was like an assembly line –just running patients through. But here, it’s a ministry. And people are so appreciative and thank us for our work.”
She sees advantages in working at Hope Clinic, such as being able to see patients who are suffering with pain from an abscess without the patient having to visit the emergency room. She can go ahead and start them on antibiotics.
“And if one of my patients has a health issue, I can refer them to one of the nurse practitioners or a doctor next door and they can do the same,” she said. “We can see a patient that needs an extraction and we are on call for emergencies after hours as well.”
She also stresses early childhood prevention.
“Even a baby at 6-months old that has no teeth yet – I can still examine them to see if all their teeth are there and are going to come in,” she said. “I also want to stress educating parents on steps they can take to ensure dental health for their children and suggest proper diet and home care.”
Asked what the future holds for her, Samuels said she’s always dreamed of opening her own practice, but since she became a part of Hope Clinic, she’s had second thoughts.
“I consider this more than just a job – it’s more like a ministry – I have the opportunity to personally touch people,” she said. “This fits my personality. I have the opportunity every day to put my faith into action and at the same time do what I’m trained to do.”
And how does she feel about the work environment at Hope Clinic?
“Everyone that I work with here is just great. Dr. Mackie Owens who started this clinic – as well as Dr. Peggy Linguist and Dr. (Bobby) Haney – I just thank God for all of them. God’s anointing is all over this place. I’m very happy to be here.”
Contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or 469-517-1450.