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DDS, International Dentist, Kerala, India

I am a dentist from India who now lives in the USA, and I very much want to prepare myself for succeeding in dentistry in my new country. I grew up in Kerala, India, where I had an uncle and a cousin who were dentists, and I used to go to their dental offices to observe. Soon, I learned how to help out a little bit at their practices, and before long, I was learning how to deal with a variety of dental issues while still very young. In particular, I learned early on the critical importance of effective communication between patients and health care providers. I came to the United States, in part, as a result of my marriage. Now, however, I am going through a divorce. I have fallen in love with America and, most notably, the goal of practicing dentistry.

I finished my internship in India in 1998 and then worked as an Associate in the Oral Medicine Department of the dental college from which I graduated. I also worked for several months at a dental office in Kerala until I left for Saudi Arabia in 2000 and began working in a public hospital. This experience gave me vast exposure to different races of people and to dealing with various cases. I later joined a polyclinic in Saudi Arabia up until I returned to India for one year, from 2003-2004, and I had the invaluable opportunity of working with a team of implantologists. I returned to my polyclinic in Saudi Arabia, working from 2004 through 2008. I next worked as a volunteer in Bangalore for some dental camps, and immigrated to the USA in March of 2009. While caring for my son, who is now 10, I have also volunteered at two dental offices.

 At 39, I am finally free to pursue my professional dream without any distractions. As one of the most mature students in your program, I will seek to excel based on my long experience in the field. I passed part 1 of the NBDE with a score of 77 and will be appearing for Part 2 in March, in addition to the TOEFL in February. Along with Hindi, Malayalam, and English, I also speak, read, and write Tamil along with Arabic to some extent. My long-term goal is to establish my own dentistry practice here in America and cater primarily to those members of a large urban community that speak these languages. Practicing dentistry in Saudi Arabia off and on for four to five years was very challenging. Throughout the experience, I found great satisfaction in my improved ability to please my patients in Arabic. I am someone who is very sensitive to multicultural and multilingual experiences and challenges because of this experience. For my first year, I worked primarily with dental emergencies, which was incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, I persevered and even excelled at the fulfillment of my responsibilities in the KSA.

My long-term interest in the poor and oppressed, refugees, recent immigrants of scarce resources, and undocumented people, also took off in earnest during my stay in Saudi Arabia. I did not treat the Saudi elite; instead, I treated everyone from guest workers to the indigent. Most of my patients were basically unaware of their poor oral hygiene, yet they wished to escape pain, at the same time that they were highly concerned about how they would pay for their dental care. Generally speaking, my patients in the KSA considered dental care to be a luxury, something that did not readily correspond to their social station. Many also suffered from at least one other medical condition that impacted their oral health, usually undiagnosed.

Over the last several years, since arriving in the USA, in addition to volunteering at two dental offices, I have also volunteered to help in remote areas for medical camps in both Sacramento and Oakland in 2011. I also volunteered for many dental bases in Saudi Arabia and India since it is my volunteer work that I find most satisfying. I am especially drawn to prevention, and this is why I helped to organize dental check-up camps. These activities are foundations upon which I want to continue to build for the balance of my professional life, working as a dentist until I drop out.

The most significant contribution that I might be able to make to society would be to be a good human being who can understand others’ emotions and to help them during a crisis and to be an excellent dental practitioner who is well versed with all the latest techniques and who is very kind and friendly with the patients. I hope very much to be admitted to your program for international dentists. I have been encouraged by dozens of dentists with whom I have worked, especially in our camps, and also stay up to date about current developments in my field through an extensive network of colleagues that I have built up, mostly here in America.

I did not make as much progress professionally as I would have liked, since being here in America. Much of this has to do with being a victim of domestic violence, and landing in a transitional home, just trying to shield my son as best that I could. We are now free. However, I am divorced and have no baggage to drag me down. My son supports me in my endeavors, and I feel strongly that I am now at the moment in my life when I can devote even more energy to dentistry than I have ever been able to do before. As a result of heightened discipline, organization, and passion, I feel strongly that I am in a position to excel in your program. I also have the dream of giving long stints of my professional life to full-time research into oral cancer. I have matured enormously and achieved a solid scientific background with a stable trajectory of clinical exposure for many years. I am dedicated to first serving the needs of those who are most vulnerable among us. I thank you for considering my application to your program.

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