USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Class of 2017

Check out the webcast from Ostrow’s 2017 Commencement 

On Friday, May 12, 2017, Ostrow’s Class of 2017 gathered on McAlister Field to celebrate their accomplishments and take the next step on their dental career paths. Meet three USC dentistry graduates, who were featured in HSC News in its 2017 commencement coverage:

Jonathan Nguyen DDS ’17

nguyen portrait
Photo by Derek Tam

Jonathan Nguyen hopes to change the way dental professionals perceive the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

In a 2012 survey of 3,000 self-identified LGBTQ Californians, dentists were among the top six health care providers to whom respondents would not come out. They were also among the top six health care providers to have rejected LGBTQ identities.

Knowing this, the openly-gay Nguyen dedicated himself and his Albert Schweitzer Fellowship project to improving dental professionals’ cultural competency of LGBTQ patients.

“It’s not necessarily about trying to get dental professionals to ask their patients ‘What’s your sexual orientation?,’ Nguyen says. “It’s more about if the subject pops up, then you’re more aware of how you can talk to someone of that identity.

During his dental school career, Nguyen started the school’s first LGBTQ student group, led cultural sensitivity discussions with Ostrow faculty and staff and participated in community outreach events, providing treatment to LGBTQ patients.

“We had a transgender individual who said he was completely denied treatment at a dentist’s office,” Nguyen said of a patient that he met at a community outreach event. “It was really sad because there were a lot of hopeless teeth that could’ve easily been managed had he had a better rapport with a dental provider.”

—John Hobbs MA ’14

Hugo Partida ’07, DDS ’17

partida portrait
Photo by Derek Tam

Hugo Partida was inspired to a career in healthcare by his mother.

“She worked really hard being a single mom, raising four kids and getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing,” Partida says.

After spending time researching potential healthcare careers and shadowing professionals from different fields, Partida had an epiphany. “I knew either dentistry was made for me, or I was made for dentistry,” says Partida, who was particularly drawn to the ability to help others on such a broad scale.

“It’s common to believe that dentistry is only about teeth, but this is not the case,” Partida says. “This profession is vast and includes oral cancer screenings, diagnosis of soft and hard tissue diseases, nutritional counseling and preventative measures.”

The Ostrow graduate hopes to use the knowledge and skills he’s gained during the past four years to pursue a life of service.

“To truly bring smiles to people would be very rewarding by itself,” Partida says.

After Commencement, he plans to spend time with his soon-to-be-born daughter and begin working as an associate at a dental practice.

“I still want to volunteer as I do now,” he says. “because I believe no one should ever be without dental care — especially children.”

—John Hobbs MA ’14

Mishaun Sahebi DDS ’17

sahebi portrait
Photo by Berit Kaesler

Mishaun Sahebi first knew he wanted to pursue dentistry while a  junior in high school.

“I fell in love with the artistic intimacy and mutual trust that developed between the dentist and the patient,” says Sabehi, who served as class president for the DDS Class of 2017 all four years of dental school.

Sahebi believes that his respect for the profession and doing what he was passionate about helped guide him through his dental education.

“As hard as times may become just trust in the love you found for what you want to do and who you want to be and continue putting one foot in front of the other towards whatever your goal may be,” Sahebi says.

During his dental school career, Sahebi was honored with the Dental Student Award from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Student Leadership Award from Delta Dental.

After graduation, the Oregon-born Sahebi will leave the West Coast behiond to embark on a six-year oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at Louisiana State University in New Orleans, where he will also work toward his doctor of medicine degree.

“I hope that my classmates remember me as someone who aimed to put humility above all in my thoughts and actions towards peers, faculty, staff and patients.”

—Yasmine Pezeshkpour MCM ’16

More information on Ostrow’s commencement ceremony