The California Dental Association recently announced its new president for 2018 as Natasha Lee, DDS, whose term began Jan 1. Lee succeeds immediate past president Clelan Ehrler, DDS, MS.

Lee, a practicing general dentist in the Sunset District of San Francisco, is a graduate of the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry class of 2000. With more than 17 years of experience as a dental educator, Lee spent over a decade teaching preclinical restorative techniques and is now an assistant professor and course director of Practice Management and Jurisprudence at Pacific Dugoni.

During her speech to the CDA House of Delegates, Lee emphasized the importance of leadership in dentistry and how diversity, and even more important, inclusion, in CDA’s membership can drive change.

Natasha Lee, DDS

Natasha Lee, DDS

“We know that diversity is recognized as a driver of innovation and creativity in successful organizations. And we must consider what we need to do to remain relevant as our practices and our dentists become more diverse,” says Lee in a release. She explained that while diversity adds different people to a group, “inclusion is the behavior involved in truly embracing that diversity and making everyone’s perspective feel welcome.

“While it is important for the future of any association that its leadership reflects the diversity of its membership, I challenge us to move beyond diversity and strive instead for inclusion.””

Lee, who has worked hard at the local, state, and national levels to be an advocate and voice for patients and dental health professionals, also discussed in her speech membership, leadership development and the importance of organizational health to the CDA.

Lee is an active leader in the ADA, CDA, and San Francisco Dental Society, having held numerous leadership positions and serving on various councils and committees, including CDA’s Policy Development Council, Council on Membership and Strategic Planning Committee, as well as on The Dentists Insurance Company’s board of directors, finance committee and more.

She previously served as an American Student Dental Association and CDA student leader, an officer of the San Francisco Dental Society and as a CDA delegate, trustee, secretary and vice president.