Childhood experiences are formative and I trace my interest in dentistry to very early on in my life. I was born in a small village in India and was raised by extended family until I finished my education through high school. I watched my grandfather struggling without his teeth while eating, and especially in my teenage years, this made a big impression on me as I reflected upon what I wanted to study and practice as a professional in the future. Later on, I remember him struggling with is speaking and eating as he underwent dental treatment. In time, dental concerns would become my driving force towards my destination of Dentistry and I began to daydream about the day that I would pass state board exams. One of the proud moments of my life is when I delivered my first ever complete denture removable prosthesis to my grandfather while a student in Dental School. My milestones in life so far include finishing dental school in India and practicing dentistry over a year before moving to the USA. Earning my MPH Degree in Missouri was the accomplishment that has connected me to the community and assisted me in understanding various aspects of Public Health. Currently, I live in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA where I am employed by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.
As I enrolled in my childhood dream profession, Dentistry; I was ready for commitment and hard work by being on the top of the merit list. My discipline focused me to excel and being in the big city of the Gujarat state, I was exposed to large number of patients with variety of dental problems. As my dental school has a collaboration with non-profit organizations and outreach dental clinics, I had the opportunity to contribute to the local community, sharpening my clinical skills. I have acquired comprehensive knowledge by reviewing peer reviewed articles, which also prepared me for class presentation and discussion. During the full one year internship rotation, I have guided third and final year students by overseeing their preclinical and clinical assignments. In addition, I have organized as well as served in free dental check-up camps at government schools, factories and remote areas. During the oral health evaluation camps, I have come across multiple cases with pre-cancerous lesions. After reviewing patients’ history, I realized that much of the oral cancer related problems in remote areas are grounded in poor hygiene, tobacco consumption and smoking. I saw this desperate situation up close while serving at free dental check-up camps in India dedicated to the promotion of oral hygiene and health awareness. During my rotation in Public Health Dentistry in India, I had a privilege of getting to know rural communities in Ahmedabad, India and enjoyed our investigative conversations about their Dental problems.
As I am always curious about the latest technological advancement in the dental field, especially as they related to oral public health, I decided to first earn the Master in Public Health at Missouri State University where I enjoyed very much serving as a graduate assistant in Ozark Public Health Institute at Missouri State University. I was proud to be part of “Grow Healthy” team that aimed to focus on reducing Obesity rates in remote areas in Missouri, which was funded by United States Department of Agriculture. I had learned different aspects of community in terms of socioeconomical classes and health behaviors, which would definitely equipped me how to approach and understand the needs of people from different cultures. Acquiring an in depth understanding of community health issues served to sharpen my research and analytical skills.
Shortly after earning my MPH degree, I accepted a position with a pharmaceutical company working on clinical trials. This has also advanced my research skills and attention to detail in an area closely related to my central professional interests. Since I have been working in cancer related clinical trials, I cannot help but reflect upon what I perceive to be gaps in cancer research that I hope to participate in shedding light on in the future, especially with respect to developing a better understanding of the etiology of oral cancers. At the same time, I devote my time at ASPEN Dental, observing, shadowing, and learning different approaches for the treatments.
I feel called, in particular, to acquire my dental license in United States by completing an International Dentist Program. Recently, I have participated in the course of Fundamentals of Restorative Dentistry at Duggan Institute of Dentistry as continuing dental education. As I have been involved in extensive research, it is my sincere hope that this will help me to excel in your program, especially as a result of my keen passion for minimally invasive procedures. My long term goals include advanced training in endodontic microsurgery. I especially look forward to giving my professional time to the study, investigation, and practice of dentistry and oral health care meeting the needs of diverse populations from all walks of life.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering my application to your distinguished program.