Aliza Hanif

MMS '13

Windham Dental Associates

What do you do professionally?

My professional endeavors have expanded across numerous sectors, from educational entrepreneurship to sports marketing in the golf industry. Currently, I am working as a board-certified dentist at Windham Dental Associates focusing on neuromuscular dentistry.

Aliza Hanif golfing

I completed my doctoral training at the University of New England-College of Dental Medicine in Portland, Maine. During my time as a dental student, I was an admissions interviewer, student marketer for the college’s Oral Health Center, CUP-AHEC Scholar (Care for Underserved Pathways-Area Health Education Centers), student board member on the Maine AHEC Advisory Committee, and garnered the Interprofessional Team Immersion Honors Distinction.  

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

I love having the ability to physically use my hands to rehabilitate smiles and create confidence within my patients. I think part of the reason why I like using my hands to make a difference is due to my love for golf. Having that immediate satisfaction after hitting a crisp tee shot is the same feeling that I have when helping a patient feel relief from a toothache or seeing the joy on someone’s face after delivering a crown in an aesthetic zone.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

Although there are several challenges that plague dentists everywhere, I think the biggest challenge that I face is that initial interaction where most patients will say, “I hate the dentist.” I think that this perception is not unique to me by any means, but I also welcome it.

I always explain to patients that we are on this journey together towards improving their oral health. I think by encouraging that team spirit with your patients helps them feel that you are not berating them for lacking in dental care. Everyone’s story is different.

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

I love traveling! I have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean, East Coast, and Toronto. The CUP-AHEC Scholar program gave me the opportunity to travel to rural areas in Maine. One of my favorite memories is traveling to the town of Eastport, the easternmost city in the United States. Having the chance to see the Maine coastline along with the lighthouses was breathtaking.


My current role will allow me to travel to Las Vegas to pursue courses at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies to expand my knowledge in neuromuscular dentistry. I am going to be mentored by Dr. Michael Bufo, who is a clinical instructor at the institute and teaches the latest advancements in TMJ therapy as well as cosmetic dentistry.

What is the best professional advice you’ve received?

Over the years, I have always received great advice at different stages of my career. That said, I believe that the best piece of advice that I received was from one of my dental school professors. He always told us to remember that the most important step is the one that we are currently on. This statement has also helped me to play better golf!

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

I think that embarking on a career in dentistry is living the dream since I can maintain that work-life balance that I have always wanted. However, I would say that another dream job of mine is to start an initiative where I can mentor youth on both golf and leadership pursuits. My goal is to inspire students from all walks of life to pursue degrees in both the healthcare and business sectors.

Professionally or personally, what are you excited about right now?

After four long and rigorous years, I am very excited to return to the workforce to embark on a career that I am passionate about. I am also excited to reconnect with my Fuqua network to possibly inspire future MMS/dentists! Additionally, I am super happy to have the opportunity to play more golf!

Aliza Hanif working

What do you like to do outside of work?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an avid golfer. During dental school, I was able to play with a few classmates and travel to several beautiful golf courses in Maine.

Aliza Hanif golfing

Apart from being a huge golf nerd, I love to cook new recipes, particularly recipes belonging to my Indo-Guyanese heritage. Hiking is another hobby that I picked up while in dental school, mostly because Maine has gorgeous trails. My favorite trail is Winnick Woods in Cape Elizabeth.


What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

Fuqua taught me the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone to grow as an individual. I find that there is this healthy, collaborative spirit that is most unique to Fuqua where you can be the best in your field with the help of your faculty and classmates. Fuqua has encouraged me to consistently pursue the unknown and has provided the peace of mind that I have a community that supports me.

Who was your favorite professor?

Every professor was amazing! I particularly enjoyed courses in strategy, marketing analysis, and the business communication courses. I would say that these courses shaped my trajectory in becoming a well-rounded clinician.

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

I love and miss Fuqua’s vibrant student life! I had some of my fondest memories at Fuqua Fridays. It was a great opportunity to network with new people and gather with your classmates to destress after a final exam. I enjoyed eating great food and participating in themed events sponsored by some of the cultural organizations. It was the most wonderful way to interact with individuals from all walks of life and for everyone to really understand the true meaning of cultural competency.

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

Team Fuqua is an amalgamation of individuals from diverse backgrounds who willingly collaborate with one another to achieve more in unison than alone. I cannot tell you how often I have counted on my fellow teammates to solve case studies that mirrored real-world issues. Issues that I have even faced in my own career in marketing and as a dentist!

Aliza Hanif at Fuqua

Part of being a member of Team Fuqua is having the ability to put aside your own implicit bias to create an environment where everyone can come together to problem solve issues that plague an industry. Team Fuqua is not just a mere idea. It is a powerful movement that creates changemakers globally.