As a child in Dubai, I used to join my mother at a hospital for special needs children where she was
a volunteer. We would talk and play with the children and I enjoyed it very much. However, even though I was very young, it struck me that the appearance of those children who suffered dental malformation could be greatly improved and saw that some had difficulty eating for the same reason but this was, presumably, not regarded as a matter of priority and little was ever done. At age 12, I suffered a chipped maxillary incisor and thought that it was the end of the world. I will never forget the enormous relief I felt on discovering that this could be easily fixed. These early experiences made me very aware of the importance of dental health and esthetics and they set me on a career path that I have never regretted.
I have provided dental treatment in 3 different continents; India, Africa and America which has encompassed underdeveloped, developing and developed countries. These experiences have opened my eyes to the great disparities in oral health between economic classes and, have fired a passion for improving education in oral hygiene and helping to bring dental services to under-served communities. It has also given me a passion to assist in the development of new techniques and materials to enable the delivery of effective and low-cost treatments as widely as possible. I am also especially interested in the prevention of oral carcinoma, which is prevalent in India. My goal is to acquire expert skills and knowledge and, ultimately, to become a researcher and teacher. In addition I hope to join or found an organization whose aim would be to provide opportunities for dental students and dentists to join ‘dental missions’ in under-served communities across the world.
My decision to study in India was initially made with the primary intention of experiencing the country about which I had heard so much and from which my parents and ancestors came. However, I discovered that studying dentistry in India provided distinct advantages. I was exposed to a much wider range of dental and oral disease than might otherwise be the case. Three months of my one year internship was spent in a Rural Health Center providing treatments and education in difficult conditions. The balance was spent in a hospital which had both a private and a general clinic. The contrasts in conditions treated and oral hygiene awareness in the two types of patients was stark and brought home the need to help poorer patients to understand the need to give a much greater priority to early treatment and the adoption of a regular and effective oral hygiene regime. This part of my career has left a deep impression on me and I will always be grateful for the opportunity to provide relief to poor patients suffering severe pain and to enable people to smile and to eat painlessly. I gained very impressive results during my training, which will be an assurance as to my academic potential within the program.
My personal goals clearly call for a high degree of cultural sensitivity. I have happily worked alongside, studied with, and treated people of many different ethnic and social backgrounds and all ages. I enjoy sharing information about my own culture and experiences, and learning from others about their own. I am very widely travelled and am fluent in English and Hindi, I can speak Tamil and Malayalam and am learning Spanish, which I very much enjoy.
Since coming to the U.S., I have had the opportunity to ‘shadow’ a highly skilled and compassionate dentist in Texas who has generously given significant time to extending my informal training here. This has provided me with insights into the dental environment in the U.S. as well as exposing me to the latest techniques and equipment. I have undertaken attendance at dental conferences and extensive reading of professional journals to keep abreast of the latest developments in such a fast changing professional environment. I am also enrolled in a preceptorship program at XXXX University which will last one month and commences in March of this year and will further extend and broaden my local dental education.
I consider that a busy professional in any field benefits from having outside passions and interests. I hold a degree in Classical Indian music and have been awarded the prestigious title of ‘Sangeet Bhushan’ because of my skills. I was also an enthusiastic member of my University’s Indian contemporary dance team which I headed for a year.
To summarize: I have gained unusually broad experience which was acquired in several countries and dental environments; I have gained impressive grades in my professional education and, indeed, in all those fields of study in which I have engaged; I possess a naturally outgoing and empathetic personality. However my main recommendation is a genuine passion to provide excellent treatment to patients and to assist in the constant search for innovative and effective techniques, materials and equipment. I believe that I will be able to ‘add value’ to the program and very much look forward to doing so.