Aaron Winters has known he wanted to be a dentist since he was five years old.
Aaron Winters has known he wanted to be a dentist since he was five years old.
Main Content

#2024UMMCGrad: Aaron Winters captures smiles with community outreach

Published on Monday, May 13, 2024

By: Rachel Vanderford,

Photos By: Jay Ferchaud/ UMMC Communications

In the eyes of Aaron Winters, every smile is a work of art. From behind the lens to the dental chair, if there is one thing he knows best, it’s how to craft a picture-perfect grin. 
“My mom always says that ever since I was around five years old, I would say, ‘I want to be a dentist,’ and my answer has never changed,” Winters said. “I just turned 26 so that’s a pretty long commitment. We always went to our six-month checkups as kids. Dr. Goolsby’s, my dentist in Clinton, office always felt welcoming and made me feel at home when I went to visit.” The rest, Winters said, is history.  
In his freshman year at Alcorn State University, where he was studying biochemistry, the Byram native discovered his passion for photography after thumbing through some of his parents’ old Polaroids.  
“There’s just something about capturing a moment and being able to look back on it and feel it, even decades later,” he said. 
Winters treats patient Steve Hudson of Canton, assisted by third-year dental student, Bailey Steen.
Winters treats patient Steve Hudson of Canton, assisted by third-year dental student, Bailey Steen.

More than anything, he loves people and enjoys being able to help others where he can. Whether it’s providing relief to someone in severe pain or helping someone gain confidence through a new smile, Winters said that having such a positive impact on patient’s lives is the most rewarding and enjoyable part of working in dentistry. 
Winters and his classmate, Kelbe Logan, co-directed the dental services at the Jackson Free Clinic, a non-profit, student-run clinic in the heart of Jackson, which provides 100% free medical, dental and psychiatric care to the city’s most vulnerable citizens.  
“Being able to serve patients for free and get them out of acute pain in an area where I grew up going to church is a really full circle moment for me,” said Winters. “We are there three to four Saturdays of the month making sure the clinic runs smoothly while our fellow fourth years and third years provide care.” 
Winters’ grandfather, Neddie Winters, was a church pastor for many years before becoming executive director and president of Mission Mississippi, a statewide Christian organization aimed at uniting churchgoers across racial divides and denominations. Growing up in the church, Winters said that much of his time was spent serving others.  

“Since a young age, my family had me and my older siblings helping out with events around the church, whether that was packing shoeboxes for the homeless at Christmas time or helping pass out juice when we served our Christmas Eve prayer breakfast,” he said. 
Winters has also been a member of the Black Representation in Medicine program at UMMC, a group that aims to bring more African American men and women to the health care professions. In 2022, he represented the School of Dentistry at Belhaven University’s Black History Month Health and Wellness Fair and during an information session at Alcorn State University. Also, that year, Winters participated in the Black Men in Healthcare Empowerment Summit Program, where he and other classmates spent the day with 125 students aged 12 to 16, as they participated in clinical simulations, toured the health professional schools and were introduced to life in the Medical Center.

Portrait of Dr. Kimberly Wade

“I admire Aaron’s thirst for knowledge,” said Dr. Kimberly Wade, assistant professor of care planning and restorative sciences and chair of the Department of Integrated Patient Care. “He has done several externships during breaks from school so that he can learn more about the field of dentistry. He was an awesome co-chair at JFC and planned schedules that allowed his student colleagues to effectively and efficiently treat those in need. I know that Aaron will go on to do great things in the field of dentistry and am proud to say I was involved in his dental school education.”

After completing the Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency Program at the School of Dentistry next year, Winters will begin working in a rural area in Mississippi to fulfill his scholarship requirements for the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program. 

“My girlfriend is in the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship program, so we’re looking forward to taking that on together,” Winters said.