I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Quyen Vu Ying of Liberty Park Children’s Dentistry recently. She is a business owner who values diversity and seeks to expand not only her offerings to patients, but to open dialogue and horizons with her co-workers.
Dr. Ying graduated from the exclusive ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership in 2019. Around twenty dentists are selected for each 18 month term. “The ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership (IDL) is designed to enhance the leadership skills of dentists who belong to racial, ethnic, and/or gender backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles.”
Even after graduation, Dr. Ying stays in regular contact with the other colleagues from her class. (See here for Dr. Ying and her graduating class.)
One such colleague is an endodontist in the Army. He recently mentioned that each military branch contains an equal opportunity office. The military equal opportunity offices offer monthly education regarding various observances and diversity. Inspired by this, Dr. Ying decided to implement this idea at her workplace.
Opening the Door for Conversation
Referencing an online observances calendar, Dr. Ying picked a theme for each month of the year. Once a month, she and her staff meet during lunch to discuss, celebrate, and observe various holidays and remembrances.
For example, September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. Dr. Ying and her staff had a round table potluck to discuss, celebrate, and honor the many contributions Hispanics have made in the United States.
Each month provides plenty to discuss and honor. Dr. Ying already has their calendar planned for next year, including Chinese New Year, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Holocaust Awareness, Native American Heritage, and more.
Dr. Ying hopes these monthly round tables open doors for conversation not only among her staff, but also among their families. Each evening, Dr. Ying asks her own children, “What is one thing you learned today?” In that conversation, she also shares what she learned. This is one way she hopes to create a more open, understanding, and welcoming world to those within her sphere of influence.
All Are Welcome Here
Dr. Ying originally hails from Viet Nam (immigrating with her family at age nine), and she has lived all over the United States. Her background gives her a heart for all to feel welcome and at home in her office.
For example, a Muslim family drives all the way from Tuscaloosa to see Dr. Ying for their dentistry needs. One such visit, the parents needed a private place to pray since their children’s appointments landed during the scheduled prayer time. Without hesitation, Dr. Ying found a private room in her office for them to use. They were appreciative and felt seen and valued by Dr. Ying.
Another example where Dr. Ying is aware and accepting to others is seen in her patient forms. Patient forms usually have a blank for “Mother” and another blank for “Father.”
But many families today are much more diverse. Many grandparents or other guardians are stepping into parenting roles, and many families do not have one mother and one father. In order to make sure everyone feels seen and accepted, Dr. Ying has changed the language on her forms to say “Guardian 1” and “Guardian 2.”
It’s just another way Dr. Ying essentially says to her patients, “I see you, I honor you, and you are welcome here.”