I was raised in rural Egypt, a society in which little thought was given to oral and dental hygiene, a situation that was obvious by the state of the teeth of the local community including those of my own family members. A journey to the dentist involved a journey of over an hour and was usually only undertaken when pain became unbearable. This background goes a long way to explain why I am now applying to 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 generally. My interest in dentistry specifically arose through seeing my younger cousin suffering from pain from his teeth caused by rampant caries due to inappropriate diet. His dental problems made him sleepless for many nights and it had a negative effect on his self-esteem to the extent that he refused to go to school. It was a difficult journey, the only dentist that who would treat young children in my area was about 20 km away from our home town. 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 appointments and I watched everything that was done with great interest. Both I and my cousin were astonished at the improvement in his appearance and self-esteem.
I was fortunate to receive my initial dental training at Alexandria University, Egypt where excellent technical training was coupled with strong emphasis on serving the general public passionately. As my training has progressed at NYUCD, I have been exposed to a wide variety of dental disease and to the exciting and rapid developments in techniques and materials employed to treat them. I gained a humbling and formative experience during my time at NYUCD where, as a student dentist, I have participated in the Program for Survivors of Torture (PSOT). 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 be able to help these patients and survivors and am very grateful that I have been given the opportunity to do so.
I have also been involved in various ‘outreach’ programs providing dental care to underserved communities. I personally organized a project in Queens which provided me with experience of team leading and organization and in providing oral and dental health education. Such activities provide not only useful technical experience but have enabled me to interact with people from a wide variety of 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 had the opportunity to work with many pediatric patients both in the clinic setting as well as under general anesthesia. I shall never forget the 5 year-old patient who came in one Friday afternoon holding an ice pack to her face and crying. She was clearly frightened during our initial encounter but after I spent a little time gently explaining the procedure to both her and her parents, she nervously submitted to treatment, which quickly relieved her pain and rewarded me with a huge smile of thanks and a hug. I enjoy interacting with children. I try to create a relaxed and fun environment to encourage them to be at ease, to relieve their fears and, hopefully, to make the prospect of visits a pleasure rather than a source of dread.
I am aware that cooperation with parents is essential not only in clinical situations but in ensuring the adoption and maintenance of long term effective oral and dental hygiene regimes and always seek to encourage this outcome. I am also interested in acquiring skills in treating ‘special needs’ patients and in applying sedation dentistry where appropriate.
My long-term goals are: to practice pediatric dentistry in an underserved community, to provide pro-bono services to refugee patients, and to acquire a level of experience and expertise, ultimately, to enable me to both practice and teach. I have been the beneficiary of many excellent teachers and have always taken great interest in the techniques applied by the most effective of them. I noted that the best teachers not only have extensive technical knowledge and experience and personal warmth but also the ability ‘infect’ others with the passion that they feel about 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 to share an appreciation of my own rich heritage. I have an 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 fully to the program for his own benefit, that of his fellow students and for every one of my future patients.
I thank you for considering my application.