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Foreign-Trained Dentist, DDS/DMD, Filipino-American

Moving to the Philippines in order to qualify and then to practice was an ‘eye opening’ experience. Having been born and raised in the US to Filipino parents, I was unsure what to expect but was very surprised by the differences in attitudes to dentistry. For most people in the Philippines, a visit to a dentist is an occasional and unavoidable evil to which recourse is made only when dental pain becomes unbearable rather than a regular and necessary maintenance exercise. This tendency to neglect did, at least, provide me with very early and frequent exposure to a wide range of serious conditions that would probably take many years of practice to acquire in a western country. It also incited in me a genuine passion to spread preventative dental education to create ‘teeth for life’ for the younger generation both in the US and abroad.  

During the third and fourth years of my dental training in the Philippines I worked every Saturday in poor local neighbourhoods. The experience of seeing so many grimaces of pain turn into smiles of relief, and the gratitude of patients, absolutely confirmed me in my career choice. In the fall of 2015, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work as a volunteer with ‘Operation Smile’ during which I assisted in oral reconstruction procedures under the direction of leading Chinese and European practitioners and learned much in the process. I have also provided voluntary assistance at several medical missions which was a very useful and satisfying supplement to my formal training.

It is my hope to qualify in order to practice in an economically deprived area of the US and I believe that the relevant experience that I have accrued will enable me to be particularly effective in such a community. I would also regard preventative education in oral hygiene and dental care to be an obligation and would seek to establish relationships with local institutions, especially schools, to further this end. It is clear that the earlier that dental education is provided, the more likely that healthy habits are acquired and I would aim to assist in the provision of such education especially to the very young.

Since returning to the US, I have worked as a volunteer in several practices and have been given the opportunity to ‘shadow’ several dentists including specialists in orthodontics, endodontics and oral surgery in addition to routine general practice. This has given me valuable insights into the way that dentistry is practiced here, cross-disciplinary co-operation and in efficient clinic administration. I have also sought to ‘keep abreast’ of the subject by wide reading of professional journals and texts. I am very excited to be part of a discipline in which so many advances in materials and techniques are being made and intend to seek to be aware of all such advances as they occur. I would be very keen to assist in research relating to new materials in order to test and prove them for the earliest and widest possible application.

I was raised to work hard and to excel rather than merely to ‘do enough’. I gained a GPA of 3.8 in my bachelor degree and third place in the class rankings when qualifying. When I arrived in Cebu in the Philippines, I did not speak the local Cebuano language when I arrived but acquired fluency within a year while also studying dentistry. I offer these as reliable indicators of my academic ability and potential, my diligence and my commitment.

I seek to be a ‘well rounded’ person and believe that all work and no play ‘makes Jack a dull boy’. I have a minor in Theater from my undergraduate years and I enjoy acting when the opportunity arises. I also play guitar, which has assisted in the acquiring and retaining an excellent level of manual dexterity. I also enjoy choral singing and love swimming. I have enjoyed some modest success in competitions in both singing and swimming.

I have happily trained, worked and socialized with people from many ethnic and social backgrounds. I love to learn about other cultures and in sharing information about my own. I am an ‘easy going’ person who enjoys meeting new people and have been blessed with a good sense of humor. I relate well to patients and generally gain their confidence easily and quickly. I am deeply aware of the importance of seeing patients as unique individuals rather than a set of notes and x-rays and will seek to avoid that trap with determination throughout my career.

To summarize, I believe that I have provided evidence of being academically able and a committed and diligent person with an excellent dental education and significant and broad practical experience. I am confident that I have the potential to excel within the program and to become an excellent and highly effective practitioner once qualified.

Thank you for considering my application.

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