Provider Spotlight: Dr. Hai Pham

by User Not Found | Mar 05, 2020

On a mission to serve others, Pediatric Dentist Dr. Hai Pham is living true to the words, “place others first and pay it forward.” Dr. Pham holds many roles, including Pediatric Section Chair at Randall Children’s Hospital, Oregon’s Delegate for the American Dental Association, Board of Directors member for the Dental Foundation (Tooth Taxi) and board member for the Oregon Board of Dentistry. Possibly most exciting, governor Kate Brown has appointed him to her Children’s Cabinet!

However, to truly understand the doctor behind Hi5 Dental, you’d need to know a little bit about his background. Dr. Pham was born in Malaysia after his parents fled Vietnam in 1979. In 1980, shortly after he was born, his family relocated to Corvallis, Oregon, where he grew up.

While it was apparent to Dr. Pham that his career would involve children, pediatric dentistry wasn’t at the top of his list. It wasn’t until a conversation with his childhood dentist, coupled with reflection on all the positive and impactful experiences they shared at that dental office, that it finally clicked. From there the path was clear, and he went on to earn his dental degree from OHSU in 2006.

In the summer of 2007, Dr. Pham was about to commence his residency for pediatric dentistry at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital when he was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia. With the support of his family and Dr. Brian Druker, Director for the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU, he found the motivation to move forward. While in treatment for his leukemia, he went on to complete his Pediatric Dental residency at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in 2009. 

Now living with a chronic condition, Dr. Pham says he has, “a newfound respect and compassion for his pediatric patients, many of whom are also battling similar illnesses.” Today, having the privilege to be on the other side of care, he has the “opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children; the influence and positive experience can last a lifetime.” Dr. Pham considers downstream effects of positive dental experiences for children. When discussing his approach in pediatric dentistry, he noted there’s a very important aspect not to be overlooked, “How you treat children can also influence their parents.” Past dental experiences can lead to generational trauma, the delivery of information and overall message to parents can be crucial for gaining trust, acceptance, and compliance with necessary treatments.

Having personal experience navigating his own treatment, Dr. Pham sees an opportunity to do more. Collaborating with providers from other disciplines, he now works closely with these providers, such as oncologists, to treatment plan together and “piggyback” procedures in the operating room, as addressing more than one procedure in the same visit drastically minimizes the time a child spends under general sedation.

Providers can often forget that “Kids don’t have choice, on insurance, providers, treatment, or money,” says Dr. Pham. So being there for them, creating an inviting and exciting atmosphere helps with providing the best care, critical to improving health outcomes.

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