Welcome to the sixth episode of The Story Project podcast! Each guest I’ve interviewed so far has blown me away with their story, vulnerability, and resilience. I’m so excited to welcome my guest Dr. Jonelle Anamelechi! Welcome Dr. A. and thank you for being my guest!
Dr. Jonelle Anamelechi has been practicing dentistry for 14 years. She earned an undergraduate degree from Duke University, her dental degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) Adams School of Dentistry, and her master’s of public health in maternal and child health at the UNC-CH School of Global Health. For her pediatric dental residency program, she attended St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.
The owner of Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics practices in New Carrollton, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., Anamelechi is attending faculty for the division of oral health at Children’s National Hospital, the department of pediatric medicine at Medstar Georgetown Hospital, and guest faculty at Georgetown School of Law. Her work has focused on children with craniofacial abnormalities, tethered tissues and their link to poor oral health, and health equity for children with special challenges.
My first time meeting Dr. Anamelechi was in New Orleans, at the Delivering WOW conference last year. We shut down New Orleans as a group and we both agreed that we need to arrange a double date with both our husbands and hang out as couples!
Jonelle grew up on a farm in South Carolina and now lives in Washington D.C. where she created a startup called Children’s Choice Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. Studio EightyEight started working with Dr. A. in the summer of 2018 to help her create a strong, digital presence for her practice. Since then Children’s Choice has grown into two locations: one in D.C. and the other in New Carrollton, Maryland.
Dr. A was inspired as a young child by her experiences going to their local dentist to choose this path as a profession. Currently, she runs an internship program at her practices to help dental students experience pediatric dentistry.
Joanna: What do your patients and families experience when they walk through your doors?
Dr. A: We are the Disney of Dentistry...we’re in character but I hire people who are genuine. We look at each child holistically and consider how we can help their whole body and not just their oral health.
Our conversation led to a discussion about the impact of vulnerability and how sharing our stories and trials can truly help others in the same situation.
Dr. A: “For years so many of my friends didn’t know that my second child is my “rainbow baby." If we don’t share what happens to us we miss out on the opportunity to change someone’s trajectory. We need to be vulnerable enough to share our stories and how we found help. Being honest about what we’ve been through and the resources we used will create change in other people’s lives."
Joanna: Dentistry is changing. More and more women are stepping up to take ownership of their voice, calling and leading better than ever before. What do you attribute to this growing shift among women in dentistry?
Dr. A: “Seeing other bad-ass women! We’re finding our voice, we’re finding our courage, we’re finding that if we step out on that platform someone will clap for me. We’re realizing we can have a thriving family and business. We have always thought that having both is extraordinary, but really it should be common."
Dr. Jonelle I cannot thank you enough for taking this time to share your story and heart with us and for being on The Story Project podcast. I enjoyed our conversation! Hang out with Dr. A at @childrenchoicedental.