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DDS Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Bolivia, Mexico

May 23, 2013


I became a dentist first in my native Bolivia and then spent 9 years in Mexico where I became an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Now I live in the United States and have been working to prepare myself to qualify for your program and complete the training that I need to exercise my profession, treating primarily the vast community of Latinos that live here in California. At the same time I have the possibility to share with my twin sister, a food engineer, who has been living here in LA for 10 years now.

 I was educated in Bolivia in a Jesuit school and very much inspired with a gospel of social service. My sister and I were taught that we had a noble and spiritual duty to care for the least fortunate among us. For this reason, after finishing my dental education in Bolivia, I chose to complete my year of social service working as a general dentist in a public hospital in a small town sixteen hours by bus from the capital city where I grew up. And that hospital was only my base of operations, as I traveled throughout that part of Bolivia visiting countless small communities not only doing oral education and fluorine campaigns, but also minor surgeries, with the limited equipment and medication that I was able to bring with me. These were among the happiest moments of my life.

 Given our limited educational resources in Bolivia, many who want additional training go abroad, especially to other Latin American countries with distinguished opportunities in one’s area. Thus, my twin sister went off to Honduras to study food science and I went to Mexico to study Maxillio Facial Surgery. I was accepted for and completed a four-year training in Oral and Maxillio Facial Surgery at Mexico’s XXXX Hospital in the Capital City, beginning in 2001. Throughout this period I also worked as dental assistant and participated in lip and palate cleft campaigns, going to small rural communities. I became a fully credentialed practicing oral surgeon in Mexico, but it was not easy. Nevertheless, I completed my thesis and 6 months of social service, earned my diploma, passed the Mexican Boards, and obtained my permanent residency in Mexico so that I could work there legally. I was planning to have a career that spanned between Mexico and Bolivia until I met the man—from California--who is now my husband.

 I am pleased to have had the experience of serving as an oral surgeon in Mexico for almost 4 years. What I am most proud of from this experience is the way that I had a major role in bringing together dentists with different specializations into a multidisciplinary working group. During this period, I also completed a special 1200 hour program in dental implants, surgery and rehabilitation at the UNAM.

 I was successfully stabilized in Mexico until Christmas of 2008, when I met my husband on one of my many visits to see my twin sister. I left Mexico three years ago now, married, and will soon be bringing to this world my second (and probably final) child. I have struggled with English since my childhood, but it was not until I actually moved to California that I realized that my destiny was to practice dentistry in English as well as Spanish; thus, I immersed myself into a world of intensive English language practice. After three years of hard work, taking classes and studying/practicing independently, I now feel confident that I have the potential to be part of your program.

 I began my new embrace of English by earning a High School diploma and attending a college to learn PFM (porcelain fix to metal) for 8 months. Nowadays, I’m observing and working as a volunteer at a dentist office. The most important of my recent joys, the engine of my strength and determination to succeed despite the obstacles is my two-year-old baby girl. I know that distinguishing myself in your program will be a lot of work; but I have the full support of everyone in my family who will do all that they can so that I have the space and energy to dedicate myself fully in my studies.

 My long term goal is to provide excellent dental surgery and care to my patients in the United States, primarily for the Spanish-speaking community. I have already invested 12 years of my life in becoming an oral surgeon and I want to continue exercising my profession in my new home, California. I want to be a positive role model, especially for Latinas, a great example for my children, and make my family proud.

 Finally, my dream is to establish a free clinic in Bolivia and to fund this operation with my own dental practice in California. Bolivia has almost nothing in the way of free dental care or care that is based on one’s income. It would take a lot of courage to establish such a service, since the people in Bolivia have big necessities. However, being accepted to your program will serve to greatly heighten my level of professional confidence to such an extent that I believe that I can realize my dreams.

 

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