NYU Langone Pediatric Dental Residency (Yakima, WA)
For most people, discovering their life’s calling can be a challenging proposition. Growing up, Chelsea Shellhart did not have to look far for inspiration. “My father and grandfather were both dentists, and have loved their careers, so dentistry was a relatively easy choice for me”, she says. Following dental school, Chelsea chose to pursue a career in pediatric dentistry because of the purpose that is in providing services and advocacy for children, the most vulnerable of her patients.
As a resident, she truly embodied those ideals, according to Dr. Jessica Webb, associate director of NYU Langone Pediatric Dental Residency in Yakima, WA. “Chelsea is an excellent example of everything a resident should be. She is deeply committed to her patients and to providing the highest quality of care. She goes above and beyond in every instance to get families what they need and ensures that everything is followed up on and nothing falls through the cracks.”
While tirelessly advocating for her patients in clinic, she also made the time to engage in broader advocacy efforts. She participated in numerous community outreach events during residency and was selected by the Washington State Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to attend the AAPD Pediatric Oral Health Advocacy Conference.
In addition to all of her residency responsibilities, Chelsea became a Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) fellow through the University of Washington in order to learn more about children with special needs and be a better advocate and leader for this patient population. “Through LEND, my awareness increased for various disabilities a great deal, as well as the accompanying social implications,” she says. “I learned about the importance of advocacy, and the importance of integration of disabled people for the benefit of all populations. I learned about the power of taking action and the ripple effect that an individual’s efforts can create, as well as the significance of coming together to create change.”
Having graduated from her program in the summer of 2019, Chelsea now lives and works in Westminster, Colorado in a private practice dental office. She is re-learning how to play the piano, loves hugging her dog, and enjoys spending time with friends and family. In 20 years she hopes to be doing all that she can to take good care of children, their oral health and their families. Her measure of success is simple, “I feel like I succeed when I know that I have taken good care of people.”