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International Dentist Sikh Community Service

Updated: Feb 1

I am a member of a small minority group that is increasingly becoming a target of violence and repression in the United States. A leader in the Sikh community where I live and work in the greater XXXX Area, I am also a dentist educated in our native India. It would be a great honor to be accepted to your program and a privilege and moral uplift for my Sikh community here in XXXX.

I also hope to be accepted to your program based on my dedication to the cause of helping the underserved with their oral health care needs, which I see as very much interconnected with my religious faith. In addition to working full-time as a dental assistant, I also work several hours each week at the XXXX Dental Clinic, where I have been volunteering for a year; it is a free clinic sponsored by the Catholic Church. We help those with no other access to dental treatment or no dental insurance; many have only recently been released from jail or are struggling to rebuild their lives on probation. Often, I notice a monitoring device on their ankle.

My goal is to fulfill my duty toward my profession by helping the underserved as much as possible to balance my professional life, back in India and the USA. After earning my doctoral degree, I want to pursue specialty training in Endodontics. Starting my clinic has long been my dream.

We now have five gurdwaras in Michigan serving as our social and spiritual centers for Sikh people who have immigrated to America. The one where I go is in XXXX, Michigan. All function similarly as centers of gravity, information, and solidarity for the Sikh community, linking us back to the Sikh community in India and worldwide and other Sikh communities across America. If accepted to your program and allowed to earn the doctoral degree, my leadership role would be enhanced in my gurdwara, and I would naturally be looked up to as a leader in the community, especially as a result of the high priority placed on academic distinction and professional advancement as part of Sikh culture and ideology.

Unfortunately, all is not well in our American Sikh communities in America. For this reason, it is essential that all professions, especially dentistry that prioritizes inclusion, support our Sikh community for solidarity since we are being singled out for brutal treatment. Our people must be represented in the professions, especially the most notable medical, dental, and legal fields. The fifth-largest religion worldwide, Sikhism, is often confused, especially in America, with Islam, primarily because Sikh men do not cut their hair to express religious faith and wear turbans. This appears to be why, for example, in 2012, a massacre occurred at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. A shooter, a veteran, and a white supremacist fatally shot six people and wounded four before committing suicide. Since that time, particularly with the rise of ISIS in the Middle East, Sikh people of all ages, especially children in the public school system, have been bullied by their peers. I always hear from youngsters in our community how their classmates call them “Isis” or “terrorists.” Even the program director of our National Sikh Coalition, a professor at Columbia University, was attacked by a mob of young men yelling racial slurs on the street in New York City, suffering bruises and a broken jaw before being rescued. He says that what happened to him is part of “systematic discrimination against Sikhs in the USA,” especially those who wear turbans and beards like him.

I graduated from dental school in 2003 and completed a one-year internship program in India, after which I began serving as an assistant professor at my college. I also opened my clinic in the remote Naushera Pannua District of Tarn Tarn, in Punjab, India, in a small town with no dentist. I immigrated to the USA in 2008 due to my marriage and have been a US citizen since 2010. I passed my first board exam in 2012 and my second one in 2014. My return to dentistry was slowed because my wife was in nursing school, but she has now graduated and promised to support me through dental school. Since October 2014, I have served full-time as a Dental Assistant with the Smile Program, working closely with the Michigan Program Director, Dr. XXXX. Once or twice a month, I also have the honor of assisting him with staff training sessions. I help him and other dentists in the program with pulpectomies, pulpotomies, extractions, amalgams, and composite fillings.

Thank you for your consideration of my application.

International Dentist Sikh Community Service


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