Bradford C. Washington dedicated his life to helping and bringing about positive change in the lives of children. Washington, an engaging orthodontist, is living a life filled with underlying details that have led him to where he is today.
Originally from Warner Robins, Ga., Washington details what changed his life early on. “A lot of things in my life shaped me,” Washington said. “But the biggest thing was my mother passing away when I was in college. She was an elementary school teacher, and I always noticed her work ethic. She would really work hard at things.”
Through volunteer work, Washington’s mother helped bring about important life lessons that would unconsciously influence Washington.
“My mom used to do this thing called Meals on Wheels,” Washington said. “When I got older, I started to help out. We would deliver meals to elderly people that lived at home, but it was hard for them to get around and get things on their own. I learned when I got older that it wasn’t about the meal, they looked forward to seeing my mother, and we would sit down, talk and interact with them. It was all about helping and making their day.”
After going to Morehouse College in Atlanta, it was natural for Washington to pursue a career that would ultimately touch the lives of others. Although he studied chemistry as an undergraduate student, it was his time spent in dental school that ultimately decided his specific career lane. At Harvard University dental school, the number of students competing and specializing gave Washington a realization that made him study further into different specializations.
“I went to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine before earning my degree in orthodontics from the University of Illinois in Chicago,” Washington said. “At Harvard, they really view themselves as the leader in the field. I wouldn’t call it pressure, but most people there specialized, they didn’t go into general dentistry. It really made me look around all the specialties, and by far orthodontists are the ones who can change people’s lives the most.”
Washington went on to detail how orthodontists change lives everyday by helping kids improve their smile and self-esteem, as it can go a long way in the ultimate development of a child. “Having a beautiful smile gives children a better chance in life. There are studies that suggest people with better smiles make more money, are perceived as more intelligent and have better social lives”
Being gifted and highly motivated helped Washington have a successful career as an orthodontist, but he credits the city of New York for the success his Central Park North Orthodontics office has received.
“I definitely think it has benefited more being in New York as opposed to anywhere else,” Washington said. “It’s more diverse, there are a lot people here, and also just the idea that the state of New York, if you meet a certain criteria, it pays for braces. I think that is phenomenal. That’s another way I can help minorities and others that come from lower financial backgrounds.”
Washington described his time at Harvard and Morehouse College ashelped lead him to New York. At Morehouse College, Washington had friends and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brothers who were from New York City, and at Harvard he would visit New York at least once a month and would eventually “fall in love with it.” A large urban population is where Washington wanted to be present and make the most impact.
As he has quickly put together an impressive career so early in life, Washington explained that being in New York City helped to keep him motivated and remain optimistic for the future and specifically opportunities ahead. “I always have motivation being in New York because I see people who are so far ahead of me,” Washington said. “I don’t know if that’s why I came to New York, but I’m motivated because I feel like I still have a long way to go.”
Washington concluded by adding he would like to be in a leadership position in different organizations, as well as possibly mentoring future minority dentists currently in school.