Alumni Profile – Meet Linda Cheng


Published: May 16, 2019

By Sally Crocker
Linda L. ChengLinda L. Cheng, DDS, MPH, CPH, FAGD, ABGD, is a Clinical Associate Professor and a Group Leader in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry.

She has been a faculty member at the dental college since 2001 and was recently promoted to Clinical Associate Professor, effective September 2019.

Dr. Cheng is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and a Diplomate of the American Board of General Dentistry.

As a Group Leader, she oversees patient care and the clinical supervision of dental students, coordinating their daily clinical activities, evaluating and providing them feedback on their progress.

“Every day, I have the opportunity to work with dental students from all different backgrounds to prepare them in assessing, treating and improving the oral health of the community,” she said.

Dr. Cheng immediately started teaching as a part-time faculty member at the dental college after finishing her Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency in 2000 and Post-Residency Fellowship in Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry in 2001. She was in private practice for 10 years before becoming a full-time faculty member and Group Leader at the dental college.

She also wrote critical summaries and was an evidence reviewer for the American Dental Association Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry from 2013-2017. Some of these summaries were published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Dr. Cheng will receive her MPH, Professional Option concentration, and CPH credentials at her May 2019 graduation. In addition to her UNTHSC degree, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Baylor University and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Texas A&M University College of Dentistry.

“I enrolled with UNTHSC as an online student because it gave me the flexibility I needed to pursue an MPH degree while working full time,” she said. “My UNTHSC degree has helped me to better critically appraise the evidence I see in publications and appreciate what contributes to oral health disparities and what progress is being made toward achieving oral health equity in the future.”

“My most valuable experience at UNTHSC was completing my practice experience project on Medicaid coverage of silver diamine fluoride. I had the opportunity to correspond and share the results of my project with Mr. Andrew Snyder at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.  Mr. Snyder is a health insurance specialist at CMS with the Division of Quality and Health Outcomes, Children and Adults Health Program Groups,” she said.

Dr. Cheng says she was drawn to a public health-related career “because so many variables affect health besides just the technical delivery of treatment.” “From research to clinical practice to health policies,” she said, “if I understand how it affects patients, then I know what I need to do better, what is the mission and vision, and how I can contribute to improving the oral health in the community.”

Her advice for current students? “Do your best and surround yourself with the right people. These could be people who simply believe in you and share your values or people who are instrumental in helping you get where you want to be. In tough times, gratitude is key. It is a privilege to have an education, and it is a privilege to be in public health to better people’s lives.”