USC University of Southern California

Parker White DDS ’17

Parker White Feature

Dramatically switching gears following a career in real estate development, Parker White went back to school and is preparing to join his wife Lindsey Robinson DDS ’90 in the dental profession.

BY BETH NEWCOMB MPH ’13

This year’s Ostrow School of Dentistry White Coat Ceremony doesn’t just mark the start of dental education for Parker White DDS ’17—it also signifies a new professional beginning.

Originally from Modesto, Calif., Parker attended Modesto Junior College and California State University, Long Beach before launching a successful career in real estate development. Unfortunately, the economy eventually took its toll, and he was forced to reassess his livelihood.

“For several years I bought residential real estate to either keep as a rental or sell to roll equity into another property,” Parker says. “This made financial sense until the real estate market took a dive during the recession beginning in 2008.”

Luckily, the inspiration for his new professional journey was well within reach. Parker’s wife Lindsey Robinson DDS ’90 is an Ostrow alumna and a pediatric dentist as well as the current president of the California Dental Association. Several members of her family are also dental professionals, including her father Richard Robinson DDS ‘72.

“All along, I had been assisting in building my wife’s practice in pediatric dentistry and became well acquainted with the rigors and rewards of clinical dental practice,” Parker says.  “It was a natural evolution to pursue the ‘family business.’”

With the dentistry role models in his family encouraging him, Parker decided to aim for dental school. He attended Sierra College and the University of Nevada, Reno in order to complete his pre-dental school coursework. As he begins his dental career, he’s been fortunate to receive advice from the oral health professionals in his family.

“They have taught me that dentistry is an excellent and very rewarding health care profession,” Parker says. “While there are challenges in managing the business aspects and leading a diverse team of allied health care professionals, there is a richness of benefits received in building relationships within the community and, at the most basic level, helping people maintain optimal oral health.”

Parker has also received the inside scoop on what being an Ostrow School of Dentistry student involves and tips for succeeding in dental school.

“Through my wife’s involvement with organized dentistry, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to several recent Ostrow grads and current students,” he says. “I’ve gotten information on how the curriculum works within the small study groups and what goes on in the simulation lab. There is a massive amount of material to absorb all at once —I’ve been told that building strong relationship with fellow students and maintaining a positive attitude helps a lot!”

However, all the insider information hasn’t spared Parker from being nervous as he begins dental school – especially since he is a nontraditional student. He hopes that he and younger students will still have much to share with one another.

“I’m a little trepidatious about being over 40 and surrounded by students who are a generation removed from me. Young people today are incredibly smart and hardworking, which shows in the caliber of individuals entering dental school today,” he says. “At the same time, I look forward to getting to know the highly collaborative and tech savvy Gen Ys and sharing with them the wisdom I’ve accumulated through life experience.”

Parker has very clear goals for when he finishes dental school and plans to make his new career even more of a family affair.

“My wife has a well-established pediatric dentistry practice in our community. With me as a general dentist, we could jointly offer dental care to the community across the age spectrum,” he says. “My wife has a large number of special needs and medically compromised children and young adults who will be able to transition to adult care while remaining in the same location.”

He also is committed to giving back, both to the profession and to the community.

“Following my wife’s example, it is my intention to become active in organized dentistry and remain a member of the California Dental Association for the entire length of my career,” he says. “I feel it is my professional obligation to support the profession in this way and also give back to the community by providing pro bono dental care.”

Parker is looking forward to the White Coat Ceremony and views it as a symbol of what he’s accomplished as a nontraditional student pursuing a new profession, he says.

“My wife may be even more excited than I am about the White Coat ceremony, as this was not in existence when she started at Ostrow in the late 1980s,” he says.

See Parker and the entire incoming DDS, DH and ASPID classes take the first step on their professional journey to becoming dental professionals at the 2013 White Coat Ceremony on Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. in the Bovard Auditorium.