Alumni and Friends
Bruin Optimist with an appreciation for giving back
Dr. Hedi Kermani’s drive, paired with her entrepreneurial spirit, are the characteristics that have helped her build a successful orthodontics and pediatric dentistry practice in Orange County. From acquiring the latest technology and equipment down to choosing the colors for the interior, hiring top associates and even designing the website, she has dedicated her career for the past two decades to perfecting a practice that her patients can rely on for quality care.
Pivoting to dentistry after undergraduate degree brought joy and fulfillment
The UCLA School of Dentistry is proud to relaunch its tradition of recognizing distinguished alumni who have made sterling contributions in the advancement of dentistry, education, leadership, and public service.
Dr. Michele Frawley, Class of 2006, is a comprehensive cosmetic dentist at Beverly Hills Dentistry. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Loyola Marymount University in 2001 and went on to receive her doctorate of dental surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry, where she graduated fourth in her class.
Dr. Mark Ortega, Class of 2015, is a Southern California native who was born and raised in Montebello. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA and went on to receive his doctorate of dental surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry, where he graduated with honors. During dental school, Dr. Ortega found he enjoyed the interaction and unique experience of treating children.
Alumnus Dr. David Avenetti found his calling in public health while he was still an undergraduate at USC. Faced with the inevitable question of what’s next, he applied to both dental schools and master’s degree programs in public health, knowing he eventually wanted to pursue both. When UCLA Dentistry accepted him into their Class of 2010, he knew it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
Dr. Malieka Johnson, DDS Class of 2011, is a San Diego-based private practice dentist focusing on general and adult special needs dentistry. Prior to UCLA Dentistry, Dr. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC San Diego in 2003. During dental school, she heard the call to specialize in caring for people with special needs. Following the completion of her DDS degree, she completed a general practice residency at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, CA.
Dr. Kris Mendoza, DDS Class of 2015 and dental anesthesiology certificate holder ’18, knew from an early age that he wanted to pursue a career serving others. Influenced by his parents’ commitment to the community, he chose to pursue the field of dentistry where he could fulfill his calling.
As a double Bruin, Dr. Sapna Lohiya prides herself on her allegiance to UCLA and the Westwood campus. After graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Anthropology in 2009, she continued her Bruin education at the UCLA School of Dentistry. While in dental school, she was active in community service as an Inglewood Community Dental Clinic Director and editor of the student research journal “The Explorer.”
Newly minted dentist, Dr. Michael Nedjat-Haiem, knew at an early age that he wanted to positively impact the world and make a difference, so he drifted towards dentistry at the end of his undergraduate years at UCLA. Dr. Nedjat-Haiem was drawn towards dentistry due to his strong passion for the sciences as well as having the chance to combine his manual skills with his sharp perceptual ability.