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Korean DDS Applicant, Underserved in Jamaica

I will always be Korean since I was born and raised in Korea until the age of 12. Yet, having been in America now for nine years, I have become somewhat Korean-American in my attitude. Most importantly, however, I have triumphed in English, and I am especially pleased to work in medical and dental mission activities in this language. I am now an experienced and accomplished coordinator and fund-raiser, for example, which I see as an especially critical aspect of our outreach and service to the underserved. The center of my world so far has been helping to organize and run dental and medical missions to Alexandria, Jamaica.

I feel strongly that dentistry, as well as medicine, must be global in outlook, practice, and service; thus, I also see diversity as a central pillar of dental outreach to the underserved. I first attended XXXX Community College, where I was elected as a senator in student government and actively participated in almost all of our student events, coordinating outreach activities for worthy causes and attending leadership conferences.  I find profound fulfillment in being a volunteer who wants to dedicate her life to the dental care of Jamaicans, with their rich cultural heritage, yet their pressing need for dental care. I am sure that I will never get tired of listening to Jamaican English because I have come to love the Jamaican people. A considerable proportion of the Jamaican population - from what I have seen - have very few teeth or none at all. This pains me and drives me forward. My long-term goal is to run a free dental clinic in Alexandria, Jamaica, at the same time that I also practice dentistry in the USA. When I am on a plane to Jamaica, I smile.

I am now entering the final stretch of my undergraduate studies in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Psychology at the University of XXXX. I've been volunteering as a tutor for science subjects since 2011, and I want to continue tutoring students and guiding them in the correct scientific direction right up until the time that I start dental school. Once I start dental school, I intend to do nothing but study. My hardworking mother has taught me to be very competitive about education, so I want to continue to succeed academically in dental school.

As a student of dentistry, I look forward to continuing to labor as a volunteer on behalf of Advocates for World Health, the non-profit organization that I have been a part of since my first year in college. My internship with AWH kept me involved in many aspects of the organization: managing school chapters across the USA and coordinating outreach events and service trips. Building a medical service trip for Honors College students at UXX from scratch was incredibly challenging and required that I radically perfect my organizational and communication skills. One of my strategies involved a dental supply drive on campus. I made a flyer with details concerning the limited dental care resources in Alexandria and how dental supplies are needed. I then went into classrooms to spread the word. Although it was intimidating at first, I was able to overcome my fear of speaking in front of many people.

In December of 2013, I returned to Alexandria with students bringing dental, medical, and general school supplies—along with a ton of oral and available health flyers. In addition to health care, we painted the hospital and landscaped the surroundings with the money that I was able to raise back home. I found the needs assessment that I completed on my first trip to be of invaluable service to my second visit, accompanied by the Honors College students that I had recruited at UX. Helping our students to experience the culture and develop empathy with the Jamaican population was emotionally fulfilling and makes me want to have more opportunities like this in the future.

Since my family left South Korea 9 years ago, we have been without healthcare. My mom and brother have never been to the doctor in America, even though both have become quite ill upon occasion. They refuse because they say that we cannot afford it (which is true). Whenever I felt sick, my mom gave me over-the-counter pills and hoped that my sickness would go away, which it always did. I fell off a skateboard three years ago, however, and it left a big scar and swelling on my ankle that never completely healed. This has also contributed to my desire to provide healthcare to those who cannot afford it.

I thank you for your consideration of my application.

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