I was raised in rural Egypt, a society in which little thought was given to oral and dental hygiene, a situation evident by the state of the teeth of the local community, including those of my family members. A journey to the dentist involved over an hour and was usually only undertaken when the pain became unbearable. This background goes a long way to explain why I am now applying for a residency position in Pediatric Dentistry.
My father’s cousin practiced medicine in the locality, and through his influence, l developed an interest in health science. My passion for dentistry arose when my younger cousin suffered tooth pain caused by rampant caries due to an inappropriate diet. His dental problems made him sleepless many nights, hurting his self-esteem, so he refused to attend school. It was a difficult journey; the only dentist who would treat young children in my area was about 20 km away from our hometown. We had to take multiple buses to reach the dentist. I still remember my uncle carrying my cousin in tears to his appointment. The treatment involved several visits, and I watched everything being done with great interest. My cousin and I were astonished at his appearance and the improvement in his self-esteem.
I was fortunate to receive my initial dental training at Alexandria University, Egypt, where excellent technical training was coupled with a strong emphasis on service to the general public. As my training has progressed at NYUCD, I have been exposed to various dental diseases and the exciting and rapid developments in techniques and materials employed to treat them. I gained a humbling and formative experience at NYUCD, where, as a student dentist, I participated in the Program for Survivors of Torture (POST). I was part of a team providing dental care to people who have suffered torture in various parts of the world. Treating such patients require compassion, patience, and excellent communication to make the patients understand the next step and not become agitated. It has been a great joy to help these patients and survivors, and I am very grateful that I have been allowed to do so.
I have also been involved in various ‘outreach’ programs providing dental care to underserved communities. I organized a project in Queens, which provided me with experience in team leading and organization and providing oral and dental health education. Such activities offer beneficial technical knowledge and have enabled me to interact with people from various cultural and social backgrounds, which I have greatly enjoyed.
I have worked as a general dentist for the past two years, and during that time, I have developed a particular interest and expertise in treating nervous and child patients. My interest in working with child patients was stirred during my early training and has grown over time, and I have sought as much exposure to pediatric dentistry as possible. During my residency program at Denver Health, I have worked with many pediatric patients in the clinic, with many under general anesthesia. I shall never forget the five-year-old patient who came in one Friday afternoon holding an ice pack to her face and crying. She was frightened during our initial encounter, but after I spent a little time gently explaining the procedure to her and her parents, she nervously submitted to treatment, which quickly relieved her pain. I was rewarded with a massive smile of thanks and a hug. I enjoy interacting with children. I try to create a relaxed and fun environment to relieve their fears and, hopefully, to make the prospect of visits a pleasure rather than a source of dread.
Cooperation with parents is essential in clinical situations to ensure adopting and maintaining long-term, effective oral and dental hygiene regimes. I always seek to encourage this outcome. I am also interested in acquiring skills in treating children with ‘special needs’ and applying sedation dentistry where appropriate.
My long-term goals are to practice pediatric dentistry in an underserved community, provide pro-bono services to refugee patients, and acquire experience and expertise that will enable me to teach and practice. I have benefitted from having many excellent teachers and have always taken great interest in the techniques applied by the most effective. I noted that the best teachers have extensive technical knowledge, experience, personal warmth, and the ability to ‘infect’ others with their passion for their specialty. I hope to be equipped ultimately to emulate the best of my teachers and share the extensive experience, skills, and knowledge that I seek to acquire. As an immigrant, I am particularly aware of the need to be culturally aware and sensitive with patients. I have happily studied, worked, and socialized with people from many ethnic and social backgrounds. I like to acquire knowledge of other cultures and share an appreciation of my rich heritage. I have excellent fluency in English and Arabic. My spare time is spent mainly in physical pursuits, especially hiking, and swimming.
To summarize: I have an excellent basic grounding in dentistry with a strong interest in innovative techniques and materials; I have an empathetic and friendly personality strongly suited to dealing with nervous patients, especially young ones; I have a passionate interest in helping all; and especially young children, to acquire and maintain effective oral and dental health regimes; I am a diligent, intelligent and enthusiastic student and team member who undertakes to apply himself entirely to the program for the greatest benefit to all of my patients.
Thank you for considering my application.