WATERLOO — Dr. Deborah Yu is Peoples Community Health Clinic’s newest dentist. She is joining a team of three dentists and three dental hygienists.
This is Yu’s first job after graduating from the University of Iowa earlier this year.
“During my dental school career I did the dental public health track, so that’s what got me interested in pursuing something more toward public health,” Yu said.
While at the dental school she focused on community health centers or CHCs.
“I’ve always wanted to really help people. That’s the reason I went into dentistry in the first place,” Yu said. “I’m still learning about CHCs and how they reach out to people that don’t have as good access to good dental care or health care in general.”
Before dental school Yu didn’t know much about public health.
“We have a really strong dental public health club (at the University of Iowa) for dental students,” she said. “That’s where I learned about these issues that some people aren’t necessarily getting the care that everyone should have the opportunity to receive.”
During her undergraduate and dental school career Yu went to the Iowa Mission of Mercy, or IMOM, an annual event with two or three days of free dental care.
“It’s just really great to see,” she said. “I’m shocked with how much need there is, but it’s really amazing how big a scope there is.”
Those events opened her eyes to how many people are in need of care, Yu said.
“There are a lot of people that are really disadvantaged and would really benefit from having someone be on their side and have heart for these types of people,” she said.
It wasn’t difficult for Yu to get in touch with Peoples when she graduated. In fact, they contacted her.
“Peoples is really great in terms of dental because we do a lot of treatments. We do pretty much comprehensive care for dental and not a lot of other clinics are able to do that in the state,” Yu said.
Usually Yu works with patients coming in for preventive care.
Limited evaluation patients are those who see a dentist for a specific concern, she said. Preventative patients typically schedule routine checkups.
“We do see a lot people that come in just for pain, but we try to stress preventative (treatment) when they’re here at their exams,” Yu said.
Waterloo isn’t taking Yu too far from her original stomping grounds in Clive. It’s only about a two-hour drive home and she still has a lot of friends living in Iowa City, about an hour and a half away from Waterloo.
“It’s still kind of a new start which is great too,” Yu said.