From Promising Dental Student to Practicing DMD: An Update on Year 1 Dreamstarter Cristin Haase

Running Strong for American Indian Youth® Dreamstarter Cristin Haase, DMD, MPH (Cheyenne River Sioux) has realized two of her dreams since she was awarded a $10,000 grant in 2015 as a promising dental student with a desire to help other Native youth become dentists: creating the Pre-Dental Admission Workshop (PAW) to help them navigate the complex dental school application process; and becoming a dentist serving Native communities herself. 

Since completing her grant year as one of 10 members of our inaugural Dreamstarter class with her mentor Dr. George BlueSpruce (DDS, MPH, Retired Assistant Surgeon General), Dr. Haase (as we call her now) has graduated with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, and a Masters of Public Health degree from AT Still University, Class of 2017, where she initiated PAW.

Since graduation, Dr. Haase has been providing oral health care for American Indian/Alaska Native populations.

She spent 15 months practicing in Chiloquin, OR at Klamath Tribal Health, before relocating to the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. Haase was recognized as the 2018 IHS Jr. Dentist of the Year, a national award reserved for dentists in their first 4 years of practice.

She has continued to be involved with the AT Still University Pre-Dental Admissions Workshop (PAW), that was funded by Running Strong in 2015, and has continued to operate for the past four years.

The workshop has been a successful way to provide networking and support to AI/AN students interested in the profession of dentistry. The workshop inspired a feature story in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) “Winds of Change” publication, and the AT Still University “Still Well” publication.

Dr. Haase has maintained her connection to Running Strong by keeping in touch with some of her fellow Dreamstarters and by attending the 2017 Dreamstarter Academy as a Running Strong Intern where she was able to connect with Year 3 Dreamstarters, whose dreams revolved around the theme of education.

Cristin also represented Running Strong at the 2016 Native American Rights Fund (NARF) Gala in Denver, CO; and attended a Wheelchair basketball camp that was hosted by fellow Year 1 Dreamstarter Noah Hotchkiss.

“The Running Strong Dreamstarter program and Dreamstarter Academy are by far one of the greatest highlights of my dental school career,” Dr. Haase recently told us. “The organization, as well as my school: AT Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health, were so supportive in allowing to make my dream a reality.

“We have been able to provide dozens of AI/AN pre-dental students with supplies, knowledge, and a support network to aid them in their efforts to achieve a professional education in dentistry. Although this is a great achievement, AI/AN people are still extremely underrepresented in the dental profession, and really, in all health professions.”

“The work that Running Strong does, as well as my fellow Dreamstarters, is absolutely inspiring,” she added. “I am constantly checking social media and the Running Strong page for updates on my fellow Dreamstarters, and their accomplishments continue to amaze!”

Winds of Change publication:

Still Well Publication:

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