For more than a decade, Dr. Samer Othman has served Macon by doing what he does best: dentistry. Through his private practice and regular volunteer service, the Mercer University alumnus hopes to have an impact that reaches beyond his work and creates a ripple of positivity across the community.
Dr. Othman grew up in Macon and discovered an interest in dentistry while in high school at Stratford Academy. For his senior project, he chose to shadow his childhood dentist, not because he was interested in this field but because his dentist was a great person, he said.
“Once I actually started shadowing and seeing what dentistry actually entailed, I found out that I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I decided that’s what I really wanted to do,” he said.
Dr. Othman’s father, Macon nephrologist Dr. Mufid Othman, had earned a Master of Business Administration in health care at Mercer and his cousin a bachelor’s degree in biology in the 1990s. With that family legacy, going to Mercer was an easy choice for Dr. Samer Othman, and he graduated with a biology degree in 2006.
“Academically, I felt more than prepared for the rest of my academic career,” he said. “Mercer has a campus mantra every year they adopt. My freshman year, it was, ‘Engage the world.’ Professor Paul Lewis really drove that theme throughout his seminar class, and it’s stuck with me ever since. Not only am I here to be a health care practitioner and fix teeth, but it’s my job as Mercer alumni and a human being to engage the world around me and make an impact beyond just simply drilling and filling on teeth.”
Dr. Othman went on to earn a Master of Public Health at Nova Southeastern University in 2008 and a Doctor of Dental Surgery at Howard University in 2012. Wanting to stay close to his parents and serve his hometown, he returned to Macon to practice.
“I felt like I needed to come back and give back to the community that was so good to me all those years,” said Dr. Othman, who has two young daughters with wife Dunia. “It’s always been a place that I’ve loved. The people here are amazing, and there’s so much potential in the community that is still untapped. It was my hope to be able to tap some of that potential and help Macon grow and get better.”
In 2014, he started from scratch and opened his own dental practice, Advanced Dental Arts. Business was slow the first few years, and Dr. Othman worked a second job to make ends meet while building his patient base.
“When we first opened, I basically opened my doors and hoped people would come,” he said. “But in the past three or four years especially, we have grown by leaps and bounds to a large and thriving practice with an absolutely stellar team. I could not be where I am without them.”
Advanced Dental Arts now has three hygienists and keeps a full schedule, and it will expand this summer when a second dentist — another Mercer graduate — joins the team.
“One of my hard and fast rules at the office that my team is intimately familiar with is we will never ever turn somebody away that’s in pain if they can’t pay,” Dr. Othman said. “I think those cases are by far the most rewarding part of the job, to help people just because … and to keep them out of the emergency room and keep them in the workforce or at home with their family.”
In addition to seeing patients in his office, Dr. Othman provides dental services to local residents in need at the Macon Volunteer Clinic one Friday every month. He is a longtime volunteer and Board of Directors member for the nonprofit and just finished his term as board chairman.
In January, Dr. Othman joined the Board of Directors for local breast cancer support organization United in Pink. He said he looks forward to assisting the nonprofit with its goals and sharing new ideas.
Dr. Othman feels a sense of duty to help those around him, and he wants to help others realize they can make a positive impact too by applying the skills and talents they already have. It’s a topic he’s passionate about and that he chose to focus on when interviewed by Top Doctor Magazine this summer. He was featured as the cover article for the July issue.
“To help a community out, you don’t necessarily have to do it in the most obvious ways,” he said. “Simply doing what you do best and doing it in a charitable manner is enough to make a difference. By me giving dentistry to the community, I feel like I’m having an impact that reaches far beyond simply fixing teeth, at least that’s my hope. Giving in the way that you’re best at can still have an indirect impact all around you and have a butterfly effect that reverberates around the community.”
Dr. Othman said being involved in nonprofits has allowed him to meet wonderful people who are doing amazing things to give back to Macon.
“It’s unlike any other city I’ve lived in,” he said. “Growing up here, I had a great childhood, but I never really got to appreciate the extent of Macon’s community until I moved back and got much more involved. Being able to meet all these awesome people over the course of the last several years has made me realize how special of a place Macon is and how much more potential it has.”
Dr. Othman plans to keep giving back in any way he can, including through a special initiative already in the works for the 2024 year. In celebration of Advanced Dental Arts’ 10th anniversary, his practice will provide free dental services to anyone in the Middle Georgia community Jan. 15-19, 2024, and Jan. 22-26, 2024. Appointments are required and limited and can be made by calling (478) 207-6939.
“I’ve never been much of a goal setter; I just keep pushing forward and go wherever my career takes me. I keep doing what I’m doing and hope I’m doing the right thing,” Dr. Othman said.