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Lyubov Slashcheva

A doctor at 23: New dentistry graduate excels in interprofessional health care climate

Lyubov Slashcheva arrived in the United States when she was 5 years old not knowing a word of English, but already determined to make an impact in her new country. The youngest of three children, she emigrated with her family from a small mining town in a remote corner of Kazakhstan to the Shenandoah Valley shortly before enrolling in kindergarten.

“My parents had heard of the increased opportunities that would be available to their children in the U.S.,” Slashcheva said, adding that while her parents did not understand the American academic system very well, “they were very supportive that their children excel to their greatest potential.”

On May 12, two days before she graduates with a doctor of dental surgery degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, the VCU Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care will recognize Slashcheva at the Excellence in Interprofessional Education awards ceremony. The award serves to commend students who have demonstrated significant involvement and interest in promoting interprofessional activities during their time at VCU. Slashcheva will be among 10 students to receive the award.

“The end of the academic year provides a moment to recognize those students who made substantial extracurricular commitments to interprofessional activities,” said Alan Dow, M.D., assistant vice president of health sciences for interprofessional education and collaborative care. “These are students who went above and beyond to reach across professional boundaries while also engaging with patients and community members in impactful ways.”

Going above and beyond expectations is nothing new to Slashcheva, who graduated from high school two years early as the valedictorian. Now at 23, her academic and professional successes distinguish her as an exceptional student both in the classroom and clinical setting. A tireless advocate for underserved populations, Slashcheva’s interest in dental public health and the health disparities of older adults and individuals with developmental disabilities has encouraged her to develop fluency in interprofessional collaboration. She attributes much of her achievement in this arena to the opportunities afforded to her at VCU. “It has been exciting to see interprofessional education take form and develop throughout my time at VCU,” she said. “Being a part of that effort has been really inspiring.”

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