“Knowing I can make a difference in the life of a person…makes all the difference in my own life.” This is the definition of success in doctor Ana Michel’s life.
Although she has been a dental surgeon for more than twenty years, and a graduate of UC San Francisco – one of the most prestigious universities in dentistry in the world – few people know of her worldwide fame.
If it is difficult to find a dentist that makes home visitations, it is even more so when the call comes from someone whose molar tooth hurts, and lives atop a tree.
That is exactly what happened on December 9, 2002.
With the help of a harness, doctor Michel, who has her office in Huntington Park, climbed a 500-year-old tree to help soothe John Quigley’s pain from a broken molar.
Quigley lived 20 feet above an oak. He protested for 71 days for a tree, known as “Old Glory,” that was intended to be knocked down as a result of a scheduled extension project in Pico Canyon road, in Santa Clarita.
A sedative calmed Quigley’s pain, the oak was removed and replanted in another location, and doctor Michel rose to fame, as she was interviewed in Canada and other countries worldwide.
“If someone asks me whether I feel successful and fulfilled, I would tell them that I do, because I am doing what I love,” she said regarding that adventurous day.
She bases her success, nonetheless, in living and belonging to the Latino community.
“It is not only about having lots of money and being able to make changes,” said Michel, born in Mexico and mother of two teenagers she calls her “treasures”: Nicole and Ritchie. “It is more about having the power to make changes and collect funds to help and change the lives of those who are less fortunate.”
Thanks to her role as former president of the group Clubes Unidos of El Limón, Jalisco, the residents of El Limón received 28 computers for the public high school, on December 2010.
In addition, she inaugurated Casa Hogar for elderly people, where its residents receive medical, dental and dining room services.
Michel, the youngest of nine children, has promoted campaigns for donation of clothing items and school supplies for children in her community, with the help of the Salvation Army, and summer camps through YMCA.
She was the second woman named President of the Rotary Club of South-East Los Angeles, where women were once not able to become members.
“Here I promoted medical and dental services, optometry and pharmaceuticals to the less fortunate communities of Baja California,” she said.
Among all her activities, doctor Michel is currently vice president of the Red de Empresarios Hispanos META 2000, which annually organizes the traditional “Grito de Independencia” in Huntington Park, which brings together more than 100,000 people the night of September 15.