In my last year of school, I was ranked third of all students nationally. Consequently, many career paths were open to me, but I had decided, while still a child, to become a dentist and orthodontist. I suffered a class II malocclusion with severe crowding and was highly self-conscious. At the time, there were only two orthodontists in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and I was fortunate to be a family member that could afford the fees. I wanted to give others the benefit of improved self-image and confidence from which I benefitted, including those who were not as fortunate as myself. I have never regretted my decision.
After earning my DDS in Syria, I undertook specialist orthodontic training in France and practiced in Saudi Arabia, working in a poly-clinic specialty. I expanded the orthodontic department from a single chair to 6, and demand for our services continued to increase; happily, we had the resources to provide treatment to many patients who could not meet the total cost.
I found enormous satisfaction in practicing the specialty, especially guiding and teaching my juniors, but restrictions on non-citizens thwarted my aim of teaching in academia in Saudi. For this reason, I decided to move to the US to acquire the qualifications to enable me to achieve my goals: to qualify to practice the specialty in the US and gain local clinical experience, and, ultimately, to undertake research and teaching.
I started my journey in the US by attending the International Advanced Standing Program (IAPP) at XXXX. I graduated with a DMD degree in June 2018 with a creditable GPA of 3.875 and ranked 2nd in my class. My program director and the faculty recognized my passion for the specialty and for helping my fellow students resulting in the offer of a full-time post as faculty on graduation. I accepted that offer and taught undergraduates in class, the lab, and the clinic.
I am applying to XXU because of its long and prestigious history of teaching the specialty, the faculty's renown, and the high professional regard its graduates hold. I shall determinedly seek to ‘add value to the program by bringing insights into the practice of the specialty in the Middle East. I also recognize that I have much to learn, especially in such a dynamic specialty where innovations in techniques and materials occur at such an exciting rate. I am sure that the SLU program is a unique opportunity to expand my knowledge. It would also allow me to remain united with my family as my wife prepares for a master’s in health data science at XXU. I hope the program will prepare me to take the board exams and be a board-certified orthodontist, which will pave the road for further progress in my career in teaching as a full-time instructor.
I have significant experience in the specialty; I have leadership and management experience; I have informal teaching experience and am now acquiring formal exposure. However, my main recommendation is my genuine passion for the specialty and to share Orthodontics in Saudi Arabia with the next generation of specialists.