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DDS Degree, Iraq's Olympic Swim Team

November 15, 2014


I came to America from my native Iraq three years ago. I distinguish myself through determination and dedication, which won me a spot on Iraq’s Olympic Swimming Team. I served with the US Army as a translator and cultural adviser. Working with United States Army enhanced my ability to work in a team environment and learn organizational skills and discipline, which has a great deal to do with why I am still alive. I was granted permanent residency in the US as a token of appreciation for my service to this country. Now, I want to apply my organizational and problem solving skills to the service of dentistry. I hold a BS degree in Dentistry awarded by the University of Baghdad in 2005. It is my goal to be enabled to practice dentistry in the US and to provide skillful, knowledgeable and caring treatment to my patients.

 If you walk into the waiting room of a dentist in the US, you are likely to see a group of relaxed looking people reading magazines. If you observe the clientele of a free dental clinic in Iraq, you are likely to see many distressed people with swollen faces and pain-filled eyes. When you have witnessed the latter, as I have, you appreciate dentistry in a whole new light. Seeing the almost immediate relief of pain available under the ministrations of a caring and skilled dentist seems almost miraculous. My cousin was a dentist in Iraq who gave some of his time to patients unable to pay for treatment and invited me to visit the free clinic, it changed my life. I also recalled a time when my father had suffered an oral abscess and of his pain which was relieved immediately following a visit to a dentist.

 My original goal, at that time, was to follow my sister into medicine but I then began to consider dentistry because of the appeal of being able to relieve pain so quickly and completely.  I also became aware that much oral and dental pain and teeth loss is totally preventable with good basic health education and the importance of this in general health and well-being.  These experiences fired my interest and I subsequently enrolled to study dentistry at the University of Baghdad in Iraq and qualified to practice in my country.  During my studies, I undertook voluntary work in various hospitals and clinics and learned much about various techniques and specialties but, as importantly, about treating patients with genuine care and trying to achieve the best possible outcome for each patient. It seemed to me that dentistry was an art as much as a science offering the possibilities of relieving pain, improving appearance, enabling people to eat a normal diet and, not least, giving people the priceless gift of a smile.

 Once I had obtained my degree, I practiced for a short period. However circumstances in my country were such that various obstacles and barriers prevented me easily continuing to work as a dentist and I took up employment as a translator and cultural adviser with the US forces. This service provided me with experience of team working, planning and organizing, and discipline.

 Following my time with the US military, I was enabled to move to the United States and given permanent residency in appreciation for my work. Since arriving in the US, I have worked as a Dental Assistant in various settings and with a variety of patients.  This has been valuable exercise helping me to become accustomed to a new culture and dental environment but I am now ready for the ‘next step’ which is to qualify to practice dentistry in this country. It is my intention, once qualified, to donate some of my time to a free clinic in order to ‘give something back’ to the US which has been so good to me. I would also hope to be involved in furthering the provision of education in the importance of routine dental and oral care in poorer communities.

 It might also be relevant to my application to mention that I was also employed for a time, since arriving in the US, as a retail manager. I consider that the skills I acquired and applied in that period to be highly applicable to most professions. I was required to supervise, motivate, direct, plan and budget whilst providing excellent customer service. This was a challenging experience during which I learned many useful lessons. The aspect of the job that I enjoyed most was in providing training, I discovered a love of teaching that I might not otherwise have discovered and hope to have the opportunity to train dentists and dental assistants in the future.

 I was a member of the Iraq national swimming team and was ultimately selected for the Olympic squad. As anyone who knows anything about this sport will tell you, it requires a very high level of dedication, very long and strictly regular training and the ability to focus completely on the ‘job in hand’. I regard these proven qualities to be highly relevant to my application.

 I have happily worked with people of many different cultural and social backgrounds. I appreciate the importance of being culturally sensitive generally and its special importance in the field of health care provision.

 I have a special interest in implant surgery and hope to be able to assist in research in this area of study. It is my ultimate aim to specialize in orthodontics.

 I am aware that dentistry programs attract many well qualified applicants. However I genuinely regard myself as an exceptional candidate. I hold a bachelor degree in dentistry, I have actual experience of practicing as a dentist and I have substantial experience in this country working as a highly effective dental assistant. I also believe that my proven personal qualities equip me in my aim to become a highly successful participant in the program and I undertake to dedicate myself fully to excelling within it.

 Thank you for considering my application.

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