1. What activities have you performed to demonstrate your ability to work effectively with people?
I have performed many activities that attest to my spirit of collaboration and cooperation with others. As a dental student in China, I organized events where my classmates and I provided oral health instruction and outreach oral examinations to residents of our local community. As one of the leaders of these activities, I successfully reached out to the Oral-B Company in our city and attained their sponsorship for these events in exchange for using their oral health products. My frequent involvement in these kinds of oral health education and promotion activities here in the USA and China has helped me mature and become a highly responsible and accountable team player. My devotion to teamwork also came in handy as a member of our soccer team in dental school.
After graduation, I worked as a dentist at Beijing’s Stomatological Hospital for seven years and a teacher at Capital Medical University School of Stomatology for five years, attending to patients from different backgrounds and walks of life. I treated them as friends and thought in their shoes, making me one of the most popular dentists and teachers in our hospital and dental school. After years of clinical practice and teaching, I was promoted to attending dentist for my clinical work and won the “Colgate Scholarship for Outstanding Teacher” for my teaching performance.
I have worked as a research scientist at the University of XXXX’s School of Dentistry for the past seven years. Through effective teamwork, I have authored eight scientific papers with 241 citations, won the "Innovative Scientific Achievement Award" on the Research Day at UXX in 2015, and was promoted to Assistant Professor of Research at UXX in 2017.
2. Please describe your immediate and long-term professional goals.
I am confident that my educational background, professional experiences, and contributions to dentistry, dental education, and research have prepared me well for advanced placement in a DDS/DMD program for international dentists, which is my immediate professional goal. My long-term professional goal is to serve as a clinical faculty member, dedicating my professional life to advancing dentistry through research, education, and practice. I look forward to utilizing my professional experience to solve as yet unsolved practical problems in the clinical realm. My professional dream is to design, develop and apply increasingly safe and more effective therapeutics for treating oral diseases in humans. Therefore, I believe the "Advanced Placement for International Dentists" program will pave the way for me to make my best possible contribution to dentistry by putting the degree to work at the service of my community, especially the underserved.
3. Describe (if applicable) your work experience (paid or unpaid) in the U.S. or Canada and how it contributes to your professional experience.
I have worked as a research scientist at the University of XXXX School of Dentistry for the past seven years. My research focuses on studying dental stem cells and tooth regeneration. Being a dentist and researcher, my professional dream is to design, develop and apply safer, more effective therapeutics for treating oral diseases in humans. For instance, as we all know, human tooth enamel cannot repair and regenerate itself after injury. Adult human teeth lose their dental epithelial stem cells after development due to the loss of their living environment. One of my studies using mouse models found that by regulating specific signaling pathways, we can maintain dental epithelial stem cells by reestablishing their living environment. Another study of mine revealed that ameloblasts could usually generate enamel under the support of a bony structure instead of dentin. These discoveries provide exceptional knowledge to the dental research community and bear tremendous clinical implications for helpful future enamel regeneration strategies. In the future, we could regenerate enamel under the support of a readily available bone matrix instead of a dentin matrix as a substrate, which is much more difficult to extract than bone. By combining with some active proteins to manipulate the related signaling pathways, we could “reactivate” the stem cells in teeth that are no longer growing and eventually regenerate real natural enamel to repair the injured teeth instead of using amalgam, composite, or porcelain. This is my professional dream, and there is still a long way to travel, but at least my studies take us a step closer to the final goal.
To develop a deeper understanding of the dental setting in the US and better serve the American community, I started to volunteer as a dental assistant in a dental clinic operated by a clinical faculty member at the UXX School of Dentistry and in medical outreach conducted by the Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, providing free dental services to low-income and uninsured individuals. I felt happy to help people in need and make a difference for others. Also, I witnessed the poor oral health condition among those disadvantaged people, with little awareness of oral health and overall health and the importance of effective preventive interventions. This experience also told me I should put as much effort into preventing dental diseases as treating them.
4. What qualities of XXXX Dental Medicine do you feel will help you achieve your professional goals, and how?
Throughout its history, XXXX Dental Medicine has remained faithful to its original mission: “to prepare students for dental practice qualification, provide graduate training for qualified practitioners, and create the opportunity and facilities for scientific research in dentistry.” Since its founding, XXXX Dental Medicine has maintained a hub for international dental careers, playing leadership roles in dental education, research, and clinical care. XXXX Dental Medicine stresses the overall and comprehensive development of the students, providing them with the highest quality environment, and preparing them well to be future leaders in education, research, and clinical care and service both locally and globally.
XXXX Dental Medicine has extraordinary teaching, research, and clinical teams, equipped with numerous outstanding faculties. For example, Dr. XXXX pioneered the use of the microscope in endodontics and established the microscope-training center in the school, which cultivated many future leaders in the field of Endodontics worldwide. Worthy to note, Dr. XXXX developed a series of microinstruments for microsurgery in endodontics and passed along this remarkable work to the dental students by writing it into the textbook “Color Atlas of Microsurgery in Endodontics.” Also, in the area of research, Dr. XXXX had created plenty of “firsts” in his studies of human mesenchymal stem cells, being the first person to isolate and identify several new populations of mesenchymal stem cells, including dental pulp stem cells, stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth, periodontal ligament stem cells, stem cells from the apical papilla, and tendon stem/progenitor cells. Furthermore, Dr. XXXX translated his studies for the clinic, using the mesenchymal stem cells to treat systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), periodontitis, and regenerate pulp tissue in patients. His outstanding work started a new chapter for dental translational research and clinical care, which will benefit an enormous population of patients in the future. All these are just a tiny part of the contributions of XXXX Dental Medicine to dentistry. XXXX Dental Medicine’s exceptional reputation and positive environment in dental education, research, and clinical care have attracted numerous students worldwide, including me.
I have seven years of clinical experience, five years of teaching experience, and another seven years of research experience. Being a clinical faculty is my long-term professional goal, researching to answer the unknown questions arising in clinical work, translating research findings, and imparting extensive knowledge to dental students. Completing the advanced program for international dentists is now the next step for me to advance my dental career in America. XXXX Dental Medicine is the ideal environment for me to continue to enhance my contribution to dentistry in America.