LVC Alum Launches Military Dental Career, Enjoys Giving Healthy, Beautiful Smiles

Dr. Colleen O'Neill Segall head shot

Dr. Colleen O’Neill Segall ’10, biology, was inspired by her LVC faculty, among other factors, to pursue a medical and military career. Segall, recently promoted to Major in the U.S. Army, earned her doctor of medicine in dentistry degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine in 2014.

Segall selected LVC in part due to a recommendation from Richard Eckert M’08, one of her favorite high school teachers. “I greatly valued his input and he spoke highly of the College’s science program. Plus, my parents loved the campus and I received a half-tuition scholarship.”

At LVC, Segall worked on a combined microbiology and organic research project with Dr. Timothy Peelen, associate professor of chemistry, for which they received a Merck–AAAS grant. She also conducted summer research, noting “It was a blast with faculty and my friends.

“I had so many wonderful faculty and am grateful for the experiences I had,” said Segall. “I’m thankful for Dr. Peelen who taught me ‘patience is a virtue,’ Dr. Wolfe, who believed in me even when I doubted myself, and Dr. Walter Patton [chair and associate professor of chemistry], who went the extra mile to prepare me for dental school interviews and the Dental Admission Test.”

Though dentistry wasn’t set in stone until observing her dentist in practice, Segall knew from an early age she wanted to be in healthcare and have a profession that helped others. “I enjoy the marriage of science and arts in dentistry. I enjoy giving people healthy, beautiful smiles!”

Segall, a member of the U.S. Army Dental Corps, is preparing to graduate from a civilian residency program in pediatric dentistry at Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. She also helps staff dental clinics at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

“Most of the dental clinics in Dallas were closed for routine dental visits during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Segall. “However, we remained open at each site to handle dental emergencies, which meant we were busy. I’m glad we could serve as a safety net for so many children in the area. Treating patients gives me a sense of purpose.”

Though the situation is improving in her area, Segall and her colleagues are still being very cautious.

“We have adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) under current circumstances but are being very cautious in how we re-open. We are spacing appointments and seeing fewer patients each day than we did pre-COVID. However, as we begin to ‘return to normal,’ acquiring adequate PPE has been a challenge for us and clinics across the country.”

Despite these challenges, Segall noted, “Our patients and families have been extremely understanding and respectful of hospital protocols and policies. It’s made my job so much easier having families accommodate these changes.”

Segall, who plans to return to Ft. Hood to care for the children of soldiers after her residency, “loves the happiness I gain from caring for our patients—the soldiers and their dependents. They are my heroes. I have their back… well, at least their teeth!”

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