In a first, a dentist is among the broad cross section of highly accomplished professionals chosen to serve as White House Fellows. In the prestigious leadership program, fellows work alongside public servants at the highest levels of the executive branch of the United States government.
Jacqueline Burgette, D.M.D., Ph.D., joined elite company this summer when she was tapped to become one of 15 White House Fellows to serve in 2022-23. It's an estimable club that has previously included award-winning presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, CNN's Sanjay Gupta, M.D., and the late former Secretary of State and Gen. Colin Powell.
Each year, fellows emerge from a rigorous and competitive selection process and hail from the private sector, local government, academia, the nonprofit sector, medicine, law and the armed forces. Dr. Burgette applied to become a White House Fellow with the primary aim of serving her country and furthering her interests in policymaking.
"I have been called to public service since childhood, volunteering in state government elections and serving as a page in the Washington State House of Representatives," she said. "Since then, I have been involved in policymaking at every stage of my graduate education, including advocating during dental school for insurance coverage for children with cleft lip and palate, as well as spearheading involvement in national advocacy efforts as a pediatric dentistry resident."
A 2010 graduate of Harvard School of Dental Medicine, she earned a pediatric dentistry certificate and a doctorate in health policy and management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry in 2016. She is a diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and an assistant professor in the department of dental public health and department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.
According to the mission statement adopted in 1964 by the President's Commission on White House Fellowships: "The purpose of the White House Fellows program is to provide gifted and highly motivated emerging leaders with some first-hand experience in the process of governing the nation and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society."
From her perspective, Dr. Burgette said, "The White House Fellows program has shown me that so many of us can make an impact by participating in our government and that my skills as a public health expert, researcher-clinician and educator are valuable, versatile assets."
As a 2022-23 fellow, Dr. Burgette, who is from Issaquah, Washington, will work with the Office of the National Cyber Director. During her fellowship year, she will work under the mentorship of the office's director, Chris Inglis, and its principal deputy, Kemba Walden.
"It is a privilege to learn from their incredible examples," Dr. Burgette said. "In the Office of National Cyber Director, I am excited to learn about the security of our digital health information. This is a public health issue that affects all aspects of our health care system across the country, including and beyond dentistry. We all have a part to play in cybersecurity, and my experience caring for patients and performing research in many health care delivery systems — from private practices to community clinics to large health systems — empowers me to help advance the cybersecurity of our health care and public health infrastructure."
To read more about Dr. Burgette, visit the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine website, and to learn more about the White House Fellows, go to whitehouse.gov.