Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Dr. Ken Dillehay, president of the American Association of Orthodontists, presents Dr. Deborah Lien, a Blooming Prairie area orthodontist, with the Earl E. Shepard Distinguished Service Award on Oct. 2 in Milwaukee.  Submitted photo

Lien awarded top orthodontic honor

“My passion is to help patients in rural Minnesota attain the best possible healthcare and for them to achieve total, whole-body health.” Dr. Deborah Lien, Orthodontic Service Award Winner

A Blooming Prairie area orthodontist has been recognized with a top national service award in her profession.

Dr. Deborah Lien received the Earl E. Shepard Distinguished Service Award by the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists on Oct. 2 in Milwaukee. The award was created in 1987 to honor Dr. Shepard and recognize those orthodontists who perform service to humankind in a combination of service to orthodontics and service in other areas of dentistry.

Lien, who lives in Rochester, has been operating her orthodontic practice in Blooming Prairie since 2000.

She has been involved in organized dentistry and orthodontics as well as community organizations all her adult life. She attended Mankato State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and public health and an associate of science in dental hygiene degree. She graduated summa cum laude with high distinction from the University of Minnesota in 1983.

Lien was immediately accepted into the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, where she received her master’s degree in biological science in 1986.

During her career, Lien has served locum tenens for many colleagues needing to take medical or personal leave from their practices.

Proud to have grown up on a hog farm in southwestern Minnesota, Lien said she witnessed the need for improving healthcare in rural communities. “My passion is to help patients in outstate and rural Minnesota attain the best possible healthcare and for them to achieve total, whole-body health,” she said.

“Although my parents thought 11 years of post-high school orthodontic education was lunacy, they came around to my way of thinking after seeing the positive impact and self-esteem boost that I provided to many family members and patients I cared for,” Lien said.

Lien said her volunteer efforts are very broad and extremely extensive. “When you get me to volunteer, you’ll get someone who will contribute for years to come,” she said.

She has served on several committees and as an officer with the Minnesota Association of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists.

Currently, Lien serves on the AAO Political Action Committee and has been involved in fundraising for members of Congress.

Lien has worked extensively for legislative change at the regional, state and federal levels. Some of her projects have been advocating to assure children have preventative medical and dental care, lobbying to reduce student loan debt and allow graduate students to defer their loan interest payment. She has also been a proponent for raising the cap on flexible spending accounts and improving employee benefits for health savings accounts.

“Advancing bills in Congress to assist patients, staff and fellow orthodontists has been a lifelong mission for me,” Lien said. 

Lien, however, isn’t only about orthodontics. She has also been involved in the dental world in Minnesota. She has served through all chairs, culminating as president of the Zumbro Valley Dental Society as well as serving the Southeastern District Dental Society and the Minnesota Dental Association.

She has been involved in an eclectic array of community organizations from figure skating, youth and high school hockey, Zumbro Lutheran Church and Good Earth Bible Camp. She has been a donor to the Blooming Prairie Boys and Girls Club and Blooming Prairie Education Foundation.

Lien has served as a VFW Honor Flight guardian on multiple trips to Washington, D.C., allowing veterans to stand witness to the memorials and dedications made in their honor.

She and her husband, Dale Norell, have two adult children and two grandchildren. Her daughter, Dr. Ana Norell, is a family physician.



Steele County Times

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Sign Up For Breaking News

Stay informed on the latest news!

Manage my subscriptions