HHS Early Career Achievement Award recipient gives patients a reason to smile in orthodontics career

Written By: Rebecca Hoffa, rhoffa@purdue.edu

Tasha Hall

Tasha HallPhoto provided

Tasha Hall finds orthodontics to be a puzzle — no two patients are quite the same. While she attributes her diverse education from the Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) with equipping her with the prerequisites needed to enter any field of medicine, it was the variability of orthodontics that was her passion.

Now an orthodontist in four private offices in the Indianapolis area and the director of craniofacial orthodontics at Indiana University, Hall is being recognized with the Purdue HHS 2022 Early Career Achievement Award for the strides she’s made early in her career.

“I think when you work very hard, it’s really nice to know that it’s noticed and it’s recognized,” Hall said. “Especially coming from the University that I feel so devoted to, I think that’s really special for me as well.”

Hall’s strong connection to Purdue runs in her family. With a father who played Purdue football and two older sisters who were already attending the University when Hall made her college decision, there were many signs pointing toward Purdue early in the process.

“We have a very strong familial history of being Purdue attendees,” Hall said. “My two older sisters were definitely prompting me to try to go, so we could all be there together.”

However, Hall did careful research and considered other universities before making her decision. Ultimately, Purdue had the opportunities that tailored to Hall’s personal and career aspirations. As a student interested in healthcare but not sure where exactly she wanted to end up, the general health sciences track in the School of Health Sciences offered the perfect opportunity to explore the healthcare field and help her find the profession that matched her interests.

During her time at Purdue, Hall could often be found at Ross-Ade Stadium or Mackey Arena, attending Purdue football and basketball games as well as other events on campus with her friends.

Hall poses with her family in front of "Boiler Up" bus

Hall (front row, second from left) poses with her family in front of her dad’s bus at a tailgate. Photo provided

“Anything that was going on, it felt like we were always at those events,” Hall said. “I look back at those years and think we had a lot of down time, but we were always finding something to do with it.”

In addition to joining in on events throughout the University, Hall was also actively involved in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, where she earned many leadership roles, including managing the sorority’s finances and participating as a Gamma Chi, or recruitment counselor. Hall also participated in the Caduceus Club, which is designed for individuals interested in healthcare and offers educational opportunities to explore healthcare fields. She also observed and worked for an orthodontist while she was a student at Purdue, which helped shape her career path.

After graduating in 2007, Hall went to dental school, where she solidified her decision to pursue orthodontics. Upon finishing her Master of Science in Dentistry degree in orthodontics from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Hall completed a craniofacial fellowship in Cleveland, Ohio, before returning to Indiana. There, she pursued private practice as an orthodontist while continuing her work with craniofacial orthodontics at Indiana University to help treat individuals who experience abnormalities such as a cleft palate, where she is involved in surgeries that dramatically change a child’s and family’s life.

“Orthodontics in general changes people’s lives,” Hall said. “We have people who come in, and they’re being teased or they’re being bullied about the way they look, and by the time they’ve gotten braces on and gotten them off, you can just see a very clear change in the way they feel about the way they look. That’s pretty powerful that you can make such a big change.”