I arrived in the USA on my 13th birthday. My mother had been diagnosed with acute rheumatoid arthritis and she needed numerous surgeries; since the success rate for such operations was quite low in Iran, our country of origin, we decided to come to America and get her the help that she needed, including a hip and knee replacement. While still very young, I took a keen interest in my mother’s treatment. Always serious and mature for my age, I set my sights on health care early on. I remember how dental care was in Iran. I noted mouths full of decay when I was still a child. If political conditions permit in the future, my principal day dream is returning to Iran someday to start a mobile clinic.
Biology class in my freshman year of high school inspired me to broaden my investigation into the life sciences. Much if not most of the vocabulary was new for me and each day after class I came home to curl up with my pocket translator. Once I was able to understand what I was learning, I did not want to stop and I have never looked back. I adore the intricacy yet simplicity of biological processes, exploring how so many complex processes can come together in such an elegant fashion. By the time I finished high school, I knew that my career would be in science. Once I arrived in college, I would learn that life processes are infinitely more complex and interconnected than I could have ever imagined.
At 15, working at a local Dunkin Donuts, I received an appreciation letter from one of the customers, saying how friendly and polite I was. I thrive on face-to-face interaction and I also want a field that is constantly expanding as a result of new technologies and treatments, forever challenging and stimulating. At the same time, I also want a career that allows time for family. Before long, dentistry would emerge in my mind as the ideal career, the best fit for who I am. My neighbor, a retired dental assistant, introduced me to Dr. XXXX, leading me to contact him about a shadowing position. Dr. XXXX welcomed me into his office in Montgomery County Maryland. I jumped in and have immersed myself in dentistry ever since. Dr. XXXX, a Pediatric Dentist, was patient with me, answering countless questions. I particularly admired how he knew every one of his patients by name and something about their life; I learned that dentistry is about a lot more than teeth,
Most importantly, Dr. XXXX became transformed before my eyes from a dentist to a dental hero when he attended to special needs adults living in group homes, mentally retarded, subject to seizure at any time, a few somewhat aggressive. The clock stood still for me and discovered who I was, or who I might become if I were to be selected for admission to your program. The group home residents’ insurance plan limited payments, so these special needs patients represent roughly twice the cost in terms of time and energy at half the standard level of remuneration. Yet, they were Dr. XXXX’s preferred patients, as they will be mine.
I also got to shadow two other doctors in the same office as Dr. XXXX, Dr. XXXX, an orthodontist, and Dr. XXXX a general dentist. Dr. XXXX, a periodontist, also welcomed me to gain experience in his office, but invited me to do much more than just shadow, rather, to join his team as a dental assistant. I have now been fully immersed in dentistry for several months and I could not be happier with a keener sense of purpose. Shortly after I began with Dr. XXXX, I passed the exam to become a licensed Dental Radiation Technologist. I began taking radiographs in the office, as well as assisting in periodontal surgery, providing patient education and coordinating infection control. I am also now serving as a Practice Research Coordinator (PRC) in affiliation with a research initiative of some of the colleagues of Dr. XXXX. I obtain consent from subjects and explain clinical studies that were conducted in the office as part of routine patient care.
The joy that I feel on my way to work each day as totally reaffirmed my choice of dentistry. The fact that no two cases I’ve seen in the office are exactly the same has kept my curiosity engaged and my talents constantly challenged. I am particularly intrigued with the technology: from dental implants to lasers to digital radiographs. I particularly thrive on the quest for ever greater efficiency.
As a Practice Research Coordinator (PRC), I have been actively involved in numerous aspects of our study of the effectiveness of various analgesics following periodontal surgery. I keenly look forward to getting even more involved with research as my career progresses. Most of all, I look forward to a lifetime of providing the most effective and loving, hands-on dental care possible. Once you have a passion for something, you can never stop planning ahead, and this is exactly how I see myself down the road, always striving to stay one step ahead of my challenges. It is my passion for life sciences coupled to my love for people; I want to work with them directly, always with state-of-the-art equipment.