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Canada Pediatric Dentist Older, Non-Traditional

My first post-qualification job in Iran involved working with children who have leukemia, and this experience fired an interest in both pediatric dentistry and access to dental services for those who are hospitalized or have other special needs. These special interests ultimately led me to pursue an MS in Dental Public Health, during which I undertook research into access to dental care by young individuals with a developmental disability (autism). I believe that this research was of genuine value to dentistry and to those challenged in this way. This research was undertaken in partnership with the Geneva Center for Autism in Toronto.

 Historically, the dental health of those with developmental problems was given a low priority. This was, of course, totally unsatisfactory and left the patient with potentially severe and deteriorating dental, oral, and general health problems. The resulting pain and discomfort impacted not only on the patient’s quality of life but also on that of their carers and other patients or family members who, for instance, might share accommodation. Thankfully this situation is gradually changing, both through an increasing awareness of the problems and through the legislative demands now being made on behalf of the disabled (for instance, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005).  This patient group and their supporters have not always had the opportunity to clarify their needs, and, since I became aware of their situation, I have always sought to be an effective advocate in enabling access to good dental services.  My goal in seeking entry to the program is to increase my skills and knowledge to personally provide excellent dental care and education to pediatric patients with special needs and to establish optimum ways of enabling access to such treatment. I specifically seek to undertake research into managing child patients suffering from developmental disabilities.  I hope to do my research in collaboration with other members of the department and also use the expertise of those providing psychiatric, psychological, physical, or other therapies to such patients. I believe that such research will provide enormous benefits to patients and will have extensive applications.

 I am an experienced researcher and have assisted in several worthwhile projects; in addition to my specific research interest, for instance, I contributed to other projects such as: “The Need for an Oral Health Policy for an Aging Canadian Population,” “The Association between Breastfeeding and Dental Caries in Young Children” and The Economic Aspects of Fluoride Varnish for Young Children in Aboriginal Communities in Ontario.”  While doing so, I have acquired valuable skills in data analysis, report preparation, and providing effective course presentations.  I believe I have demonstrated that I have the characteristics such as determination, curiosity, and the ability to cooperate effectively with others that mark out an excellent researcher. I also enjoy teaching and look forward to sharing my knowledge with others both in the program and during my professional future for the benefit of challenged young patients.

 I am aware that pediatric dentistry, especially in my particular areas of interest, requires a very high degree of cultural awareness, sensitivity, and patience.  I have, of course, personal experience of adjusting to a new cultural environment and can empathize with others who are doing so. Since moving to Canada in 1997, I have happily worked with patients of many cultural and social backgrounds and have enjoyed these experiences. I have a substantial knowledge of working with children and young adults from various ethnicities, including aboriginal patients, for whom I have a particular interest and affection. I believe that these are absolute requirements for anyone seeking to specialize in the areas that are of interest to me, and I think that I am unusually well equipped to do so.

 I know that there will be many well-qualified applicants wishing to join this prestigious program. However, I genuinely believe that I am an exceptional candidate. I have substantial successful research experience; I have proven academic ability; I have significant experience in working with young patients and proven effectiveness in relating to and treating them. My main recommendation is my genuine passion for providing excellent and effective dental services to young and challenged patients and for educating other dentists in doing so.

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