Valinder “Val” Addison, who as a program officer 2 at the School of Dental Medicine oversees a staff of dental assistants, possesses a clear passion for helping people.
Guided by her faith and inspired by those who consistently treat others respectfully, she strives to uplift everyone around her whether she’s assisting colleagues and patients at the dental school, teaching at the women’s prison, organizing outreach events at homeless shelters, or completing her doctorate. She doesn’t stop — much like a battery company’s iconic rabbit.
Best tip for a new person at UNLV
The best tip I could give to a new person is getting to know the people around the campus. Many people have a wealth of knowledge often learned from interesting work experiences. Another tip is: Learn your school’s vision and the goals of your department.
An a-ha moment
Early during my career as a dental surgical assistant, I was working with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and we were behind in our schedule. I asked the doctor if the resident surgeon could remove the sutures from a post-op surgery patient. Well, the answer I received was not the one I expected. The surgeon stated, “Val, would you be comfortable with having someone else see you after a major facial surgery?” It was in that powerful statement I learned a valuable lesson: each of my patients should receive proper care and my full attention.
A person I look up to
Dr. Dale Misiek (an oral surgeon at the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry) was my inspiration, specifically his example of kindness and respect toward his colleagues, staff members, and patients. Dr. Misiek left a lasting impression in how I endeavor daily to create a positive work environment.
Prior to UNLV, I was …
Living in my birthplace of New Orleans. I relocated to Nevada in 2005 after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina and joined the dental school in September of that year.
Something people may not know about you
I am passionate about community outreach, especially within the most economically challenged communities, and my family and friends refer to me as the “Energizer Bunny.” I run a mobile CPR business, am a certified nurse’s assistant, enjoy assisting our senior population, and teach life lesson classes at the women’s prison. Last October, I finished earning a doctor of theology degree.
Once a year for the past four years, I have organized a major outreach event at a local homeless shelter that serves more than 600 meals to the homeless and provides bags with snacks and hygiene products. Three times each year, I organize an event at a local shelter for displaced women and children where volunteers serve 150 hot lunches. In addition to our visits at the women’s shelter, we host a health fair for shelter residents.
The problem in the world I would like to fix
It would be race relations within society. As a people, we have been placed on earth to make a difference. The ethnic background of a person should not make a difference in how we view others. We are all interconnected and contribute to how things function in this world. In society, we should respect others for who they are and use the diversities of our talents and gifts to make a difference. There is a phrase that states: “United we stand and divided we fall.” I choose to uplift the spirit of others to make differences in this wonderful world of diverse people and cultures.
Advice I would give my younger self
My advice to my younger self would be to have more patience and to focus on the things that matter the most, things that make a greater impact.
What objects in my office represent
I have a lot of personal objects in my office that all represent something special. However, the dearest to my heart are the family pictures. For me, family represents my strength. My family is the only one that will tell me the real truth about myself, witness my shortcomings, and yet still will love me unconditionally.
Biggest pet peeve
When someone states, “That is not my job” or “That is not my area” without seeing if they could help. Working as a team is most important. I feel that we all should proactively help out in order to contribute to the success of the organization.
Chocolates, especially with nuts.
Shows I’ve binge-watched
Louisiana Cajun gumbo with a lot of seafood.
Lying out in a bungalow in Bora Bora enjoying all of the amenities: massages, facials, meals being prepared, and just chilling out in the sun without a care in the world.