EIOH Part Time Faculty Feature - Dr. Katherine Strong

Aug. 1, 2023

While Dr. Katherine Strong is not an EIOH alum, she did attend the University of Rochester as an undergraduate. When she was a freshman, she fractured #9 and says she was very fortunate to have had access to the Howitt Urgent Care Clinic.  A few years later, she started to explore her interest in dentistry and shadowed dentists in General Dentistry.

“I remember getting called on to answer a question in a perio lecture and having no idea what the instructor was talking about,” Dr. Strong recalls. “I ended up including these experiences as part of my personal statement when applying to dental school.”

Today, Dr. Strong works two days a month on our SMILEmobiles, part of Community Dentistry, and has been for more than two years. 

“This is her way of giving back to the community,” said Dr. Sangeeta Gajendra. “She is very committed and interacts very well with kids. The kids love her when she is on the SMILEmobile.”

Q. What is your favorite part about the EIOH Smilemobiles?

professional portrait of Dr. Strong
Dr. Katherine Strong works two days a month on the EIOH SMILEmobiles,

A. I love that the SmileMobile program helps to eliminate barriers of access to care by going directly to elementary school students in the city of Rochester. Parents don’t need to miss work, provide transportation, or worry about kids missing too much school. Many children in Rochester are in need of dental care, and the SmileMobile may be the only time some of them are seen by a dentist. Moments like that remind me how important the SmileMobiles are to the community.

Q. Why do you do what you do?

A. In dental school and residency I was taught that as a healthcare provider I have a responsibility to serve the community. Working on the SmileMobile is a small way to give back and makes me feel more connected to the city of Rochester. I look forward to my days on the SmileMobile and enjoy working with the pediatric residents. I grew up with my dad quoting coach John Wooden, and one of his sayings embodies the sense of fulfillment I get from working in community dentistry: “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who can never repay you.”  

Q. Sometimes one particular teacher makes a significant impact on a resident. Was this the case for you?
A. Although I attended my pediatric dentistry residency at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, I did have an EIOH faculty member who served as a wonderful mentor. I met Dr. Ritu Shah at a Monroe County Dental Society scholarship luncheon as a second-year dental student. I was interested in pediatrics, and she graciously allowed me to come into her office to shadow. When it came time to look for jobs in the Rochester area after residency, Dr. Shah helped me with my cover letter and gave me tips for navigating interviews and contracts. Knowing she was a faculty in the pediatric department at EIOH, I reached out to Dr. Shah when I was looking for an opportunity to work part time in a public health setting. She told me about the Community Dentistry department at EIOH and put me in touch with Dr. Gajendra.

Q. What are you doing now (aside from working at EIOH)?

A. I work full time as a pediatric dentist at Twelve Corners Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry in Brighton.

Q. Describe your leadership style.

A. I try to lead by example. I put ethics and what is best for the patient at the forefront of everything I do clinically. I strive to be open minded and nonjudgmental, and am available as a sounding board for my team.

Q. Are you involved in any professional associations?

A. I am a board-certified pediatric dentist and Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a fellow the American Laser Study Club, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Dental Society. I also serve as a director on the board of the Monroe County Dental Society (MCDS). This year Dr. Taylor Squires (an EIOH Orthodontics alumni) and I reinstated the MCDS Careers in Dentistry program for local high school and college students who are looking to learn more about dentistry as a profession.