Having grown up in a small, rural town in Northern Minnesota, Brekke became aware at a very young age of the repercussions of limited access to healthcare. On the contrary, when quality care was attained, she saw its tremendous impact on the lives of people around her. Her past life experiences and desire to make a change motivated her to solve these complex issues and carried this drive into her dental school education.
This past summer, under the mentorship of Dr. Edelstein and Dr. Kunzel, she participated in the Summer Medical/Dental Research Fellows (SMRFs) program. Here, she expanded her knowledge of the dental public health sphere by collaborating with her research team to learn more about improving community dental health. At the same time, she worked on a systematic literature review, exploring the attitudes of both physicians and dentists toward the Medicaid program. This research will lay the groundwork to developing effective interventions that will promote provider participation in Medicaid and expand access to care for all Medicaid beneficiaries.
During this summer research program, Brekke had the life-changing realization that she could improve the lives of many more patients in dentistry through public health. This year, she matriculated into the DDS-MPH Dual Degree Program where she will continue to foster her passion for both public health and for dentistry. She is excited to continue her journey to improve healthcare policy and access to care in rural areas like her hometown and urban environments like New York City.