Jonathan Thompson, DDS, Class of 2023

Jonathan Thompson, DDS Class of 2023
Jonathan Thompson, DDS Class of 2023

What is your anticipated graduation date from UT Health San Antonio?

DDS, Class of 2023

As a student, which specialty(ies) interest you most?

I fell in love with general dentistry while volunteering in a community health care setting and observing how integral the role of a general dentistry is in the health care process. I am interested in becoming a general dentist, so I have the opportunity to welcome patients into dentistry while also helping them navigate the dental process. Growing up in a community of low socioeconomic status, I understand how overwhelming the health care process can be. I would like to be a part of the first line of contact for patients to help guide them through the process.

What has been the most valuable lesson – inside or outside the classroom – you have learned at the UT Health?

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

One thing I learned from having the privilege to be a future health professional is to remember to be the change I want to see in the world. I learned to use my voice and platform to always speak up and speak out. I truly love that the School of Dentistry has made it its mission to lead the way when it comes to facing health care and moral issues taking place in the world. For example, while facing a pandemic, civil rights, and trouble with access to health care, the School of Dentistry has used its platform to support the students and the community. The School of Dentistry has truly instilled in its students the importance of having an active role in the community to help better the lives of the people around us, and that’s one of the reasons I’m proud to be here!

What inspired you to want to become a dentist?

As a kid I was raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, I grew up in a community of low socioeconomic status where I personally got to experience what is was like to have limited access to health care. My mother always taught me the importance of education. My mother constantly reminded me that it is not about where we come from that defines us but what we choose to do with the opportunity before us that defines our lives.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and changed my life forever. My family moved to Killeen, Texas, where I finished high school and joined the U.S. Air Force. While in the Air Force, I was an industrial hygiene technician and was introduced to dentistry. I had the opportunity to shadow dentistry in the military and a community health care setting.

The opportunity to see patients come in with physical pain and at times low self-esteem due to dental-related health concerns truly reminded me of my own beginnings. However, while shadowing I got to see the effect access to health care had on someone’s physical and emotional well-being. Observing the effect dentist had in the community changed my life forever. For the first time, I felt I had found my place in society.

What has been your most rewarding experience at the university thus far?

The most rewarding experience I’ve had in dental school was in my freshman year when I had the opportunity to help provide sealants for elementary school students from local San Antonio elementary schools. Sealant day allowed many children to receive preventative dental treatment they may not have otherwise received. It felt amazing to be a part of expanding access to health care for those who have limited access. It truly is an amazing feeling to feel like we are helping to make the community a better place for everyone!

What advice do you have for incoming students?

I would tell incoming students to remember that they deserve to be here, and no matter what struggles they face to remember that they were chosen for a reason. The opportunity to serve patients as health care professionals is a privilege and relish every day you get to take another step toward the finish line.

How do you intend to give back and pay it forward for future students?

Dental school is very tough and can be difficult to navigate. I believe having a support system is integral to being successful in dental school. I hope to serve future students as a mentor to help them through the process. I believe having someone who has been through the process is invaluable to future students.

Who is your favorite professor, mentor or staff member? And why?

Dr. Kay Malone is my faculty mentor and a dentist I truly admire. Dr. Malone has been integral in my success at the School of Dentistry. Whether it is spending time explaining tough concepts after class or just uplifting me when I’m going through a touch time, Dr. Malone is always there to help out. Having someone to believe in me even when I forget to believe in myself and guide me through the dental school process has made all the difference in my life. I will be the first doctor in my family but thanks to Dr. Malone I can say I did not have to navigate the process alone.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

My time as class president has allowed me to truly get to know all my classmates and build lasting relationships with faculty. COVID-19 has affected every aspect of life including education, and I would like to thank all the dental school faculty for their efforts during these unprecedented times.

Furthermore, dental school students rely on each other to be successful, and my classmates go above and beyond to ensure we all achieve success. Serving as class president has given me the opportunity to pay the kindness forward that my classmates have demonstrated throughout dental school. It truly is rewarding to be able to serve the people who have invested so much into the success of our class! I would like to express my deepest thanks to my classmates!

Article Categories: Student Spotlight, University Stories