Now 29, I am a highly experienced dentist from India, making a new home for myself in the San Francisco Bay Area of California over the last couple of years. I love the Bay Area almost as much as I do my husband (a software engineer at Apple), and I could not be happier with the personal aspects of my life. Thus, I feel that it is the right time to retrain full-time here in America by being accepted to your advanced standing doctoral program for international dentists to be given a chance to show how hard I have worked to prepare for excellence at the doctoral level here in America.
I was born in a small village in India, where I was raised until age 5. Those humble beginnings will always be with me, inspiring me to be compassionate for those of modest circumstances with few resources. By the time I was old enough to contemplate a vocation seriously, I was prepared for medicine by those around me for a variety of reasons, cultural and personal, including the fact that both of my parents became ill during my adolescence with progressive chronic diseases that we all work together to manage to this day, mom hypertension, dad diabetes, and my brother is an engineer with mental health issues. My main inspiration to study dentistry rather than medicine was my late grandmother, who spent her whole life in our small village and lost all her teeth early due to not having access to dental care.
I hope to have the privilege of returning to India later in my career, doing what I can for the rural poor, starting my non-profit towards that end, raising money, supporting missions, etc. Gujarati is my mother tongue, and Hindi is our national language. It was a profound honor and privilege to translate back and forth from English into both languages as a volunteer at dental events in the Bay Area.
In High School, disturbed by many falsehoods that I had heard about oral health and smoking, I decided to work on a project about dental myths in India for my science class, which deepened my passion for dentistry. I was accepted to one of the most selective dentistry programs in India. From the beginning, I was involved in a great deal of volunteer work in the community – especially in tobacco cessation. In my college community clinic, I saw many patients suffering from oral submucous fibrosis who had no idea that Gutkha (smokeless tobacco) was responsible for their inability to open their mouths. To do my part to help detect cancer early, I volunteered for rural oral cancer screening and awareness camps for the underprivileged. My team trained school teachers to sensitize students about the dangerous effects of tobacco as a part of the ‘catch them young’ strategy.
After graduation, I started working in a private practice where I was mentored by highly experienced dentists from whom I learned advanced clinical techniques and the latest technology for India. I found that once patients saw problem areas of their mouth on a tv screen, they were more forthcoming about oral hygiene issues and improved their adherence to their oral health regime, making it more effective. I also volunteered at schools, helping parents understand the importance of milk teeth and preventive treatment.
After coming to the US, it was not long before I began working as a dental assistant at a multi-specialty practice with a staff of more than 50 people. I assisted many highly skilled general dentists as well as specialists. I also enjoyed the responsibility and privilege of training newly hired dental assistants. Access to an in-house dental lab allowed me to become familiar with various cutting-edge technology and techniques used by dental labs in the US. I have attended over 200 hours of continuing education classroom courses and workshops in America.
I have also provided free dental care to veterans, homeless members of the community, children, and other underserved special populations. This May 2020, I graduated with an MS in Healthcare Administration with a 4.0 GPA. Another recent career highlight has been serving as a preceptor in the Dental Implantology Program at XXXX School of Dentistry. My days were filled with multiple implant placements, sutures, and bone grafts, sinus augmentation procedures in the sinus lift lab, and virtual planning for implant placement; I was especially enthralled with interactive sessions on treatment planning, CBCT, PRF protocols, surgical guide techniques, and incision design, and peri-implantitis. Finally, I have a lifelong professional commitment to Forensic Odontology. I am gaining ongoing research experience as part of a research team at UXX Dental School focused on mHealth and electronic health records. We are conducting a clinical trial evaluating patients’ and providers’ acceptance of the mHealth technology, and I have an opportunity to familiarize myself with axiUm software.
I thank you for considering my application to your program.