A Personal Story: “Life is a Journey, from DDS to DABOM” 

“Life is a journey, not a guided tour”: my personal journey began in Colombia when in 1999, I graduated from CES University Dental School in Medellin. I practiced general and cosmetic dentistry for a couple of years in Colombia. Then, my path took a different direction, to the United States, a new country, culture, and language. I realized that the best fit between my love for Medicine and my passion for Dentistry would be the specialty of Oral Medicine. In 2007, I began an Oral Medicine Residency Program at the University of California, San Francisco.

After graduation, I moved to Florida to continue my journey at the College of Dental Medicine at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Fort Lauderdale, where I am currently an Associate Professor in the Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences Department.  I also completed a Master’s in Public Health at NSU, which allows me to combine my skills for disease prevention and promotion of health care.

Recently I did a research project on “Oral cancer awareness and knowledge from patients at the CDM dental clinic”, that I presented at the European Association of Dental Public Health. My research illustrates the need for patient education and consciousness regarding this important topic, which is my passion for oral medicine. I completed training as a tobacco cessation specialist. In my role, as the Director for Tobacco Cessation at the College of Dental Medicine, I implemented interprofessional collaborations to help patients improve their lives. I am involved in community service programs and have served as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association.

Oral medicine is a very exciting and challenging field and I enjoy the investigative work required to make the correct diagnosis. I love to help my patients and their loved ones to improve their quality of life. During my journey, I have had amazing mentors from whom I had learned and continue learning. I am grateful for each of their lessons.

Since my residency I have been involved with the American Academy of Oral Medicine and I am so proud to be an active member. My journey in the discipline I love continues as I head an active Oral Medicine Clinic at NSU involving patient care, research, and teaching.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” 

Lina M. Mejia, DDS, MPH

Return to 2018 Fall AAOM News