Get To Know Your Doctor: Dr. Pam Goodliffe's Inspiring Story

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Our Doctors are great Dental Professionals, but they're even more amazing people! In this article, like other's to come, it's our goal to share with you our doctors' stories and give a different perspective of who they are.

Meet your doctor, Dr. Pam Goodliffe.

Dr. Pamela Goodliffe DMD

Dr. Pam is a recent addition to our SmileMakers team and has already put countless smiles on the faces of our patients.

We've chosen to showcase Dr. Pam's story in this article and show you who she is, not only to make her more familiar to you, but also to celebrate National Women's Day. We hope that her story can inspire other's in our community to reach for the stars just like she's inspired our team to do so.

We had a great conversation over lunch at Cafe Rio just across the street from our SmileMakers Dental practice.

Q: Dr. Pam, what do you do when you’re not working?

A: I'm an Idaho State Sports nut! If there's an event of any kind I'll be there to support ISU. If there's 3 games in a week, I go to all of them. I also really like seismology and volcanoes, I read a lot, enjoy working out and taking care of my parents.

Dr. Pam even has custom ISU decorated shoes and more available to those interested!

Q: Did you choose the Dental profession or did it choose you?

A: The dental field has been a part of my life since I was 13 years old helping out my dad. By 21 I became a dental hygienist and was about to go to physical therapy school when I realized the world of dentistry was really where my heart belonged. I started dental school at 34 and finished at 39. My journey as a Dentist has been full of challenges, but I'm still pushing forward each and every day!

Q: What is your favorite book to read? (or) What is your favorite song or favorite movie?

A: Right now, I'm reading a friend's novel as a beta reader and it's a Special Forces novel. I like all sorts of genres. I just re-read all of the Outlander books which are about 1000 pages each. I'm always looking for more interesting stuff to read!

Q: What is one thing you’re glad you tried but would never do again?

A: Bungee jumping. I got up there, and -- you know jumping into thin air is pretty hard to do. It's terrifying, it's fun, and I don't ever need to do it again. :) I've always thought I wanted to do sky diving, but after bungee jumping . . . there's no need for that! (haha)

Q: What is something you have only recently formed an opinion about?

A: Definitely Seismology. One and a half years ago we were hit with a 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Soda Springs (close to where I live) and a swarm of about 1000 earthquakes on that day. That week the swarm totaled a number of around 6000. From that moment I really needed to know why and how it happened; it definitely sparked my interest. I mean, you've probably had physics and science classes in school, but once you get into understanding seismology you realize there's a lot of unanswered questions, misinformation, and misunderstanding about earthquakes and volcanoes. Since I've become interested in seismology I've really wanted to go out into the field and try to run some of my own experiments!

Q: What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

A: Cesar Millan and how to handle dogs. His principles really do work! I find dog psychology to be remarkable. I highly recommend Cesar. He knows his stuff and it worked with my dog.

Q: What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

A: Run your own business. Big or small it's worth the risk. You'll get a sense of what it's like to work for yourself and be your own boss and also gain a new appreciation for how difficult it can be. In the end running your own business is always rewarding.

Q: Alright Dr. Pam, let's dive a little deeper. What is on your bucket list?

A: I really want to go to the Himalayas. I would be like a little kid in a toy store - I'd be so excited! I love going to places with elevation. Even in scripture Moses went into the high mountains -- something about reaching the top feels sacred. It's nice to put in the work it takes to reach the peak and have that special feeling being all the way up at the top.

Q: What would you tell your teenage self if you could go back in time?

A: Hm, that's a tough one. I'd just say that we all have to go through trials and overcome obstacles in our journey. Sometimes things are difficult to get through, but lead you to the right places or people afterward.

For example, in 2015 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer just before my 50th birthday. Right after that I had a very serious viral infection of my cranial nerve that could have been fatal. These two occurrences can be regarded as a huge set-back for me given all the time it took for me to recover from them. I'm past the worst part, but I'm still recovering! instead of falling victim to the situation I simply look at each day with a simple state of mind: "What do I need to do today?". It really is all about discipline and consistently doing a little bit each day that leads you to success in life.

After all that's happened, I've had a lot of support from friends and family. I'm back to attending choir practices, going to ISU games, and getting a workout in at least 3 times a week. Even after being away from being a dentist the SmileMakers team gave me a warm welcome and another place to continue helping others in need. So, you see? It kinda all works itself out if you put in that daily effort.

Dr. Pam with her choir family.

Q: What’s the best thing you got from your parents?

A: My parents absolutely love each other. It really taught me, early on, what love is. They've been married for 57 years this year! I really think it impacts kids in a major way when they see the way their parents communicate with each other and treat each other. I'm grateful for my parents showing me such a deep love.

Q: What do you wish your brain was better at doing?

A: Ugh! I wish I was better at public speaking. I'm so bad at arguing and debating! My brain just sort of shuts down in those situations and it's difficult to find the words I want to say, on-the-fly, like some other people can. I'd be a horrible lawyer, "Your honor, the opposing council is being mean to me - I object!" (haha!)

Q: What goal are you working on now?

A: (With a determined face) Fitness. Now that I'm healthy again, I'm fighting my way back!

Q: In celebration of National Women's Day, what's one piece of advice you can give other women reading this article?

A: To young ladies out there reading this: Take more math and science courses in school! They really are awesome things to learn if you give them a chance. If you allow yourself to think differently and step away from, perhaps, more of the arts for a time -- you'll gain so much from it. Even if I didn't find my love for dentistry and become a dentist I'd still have an invaluable amount of knowledge to take me to where I need to go and secure a future for myself.

We concluded our conversation and Dr. Pam, without hesitation, took both of our food trays to the trash and headed out the door with me giving me a big warm hug.

We hope you've enjoyed reading about Dr. Pam Goodliffe's story just as much as we enjoy having her in our practice every week! We hope that the next time you see Dr. Pam you'll feel like you have much more in common. Stay tuned as we post about our other incredible doctors on our team. Thanks for reading and, as always, remember to smile! :)

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