DDS, Iraqi Woman Dentist Trained in Jordan

As a young girl still at the age of 7, I was mesmerized by gymnastics.  The strength, agility and beauty of the young women tumbling, balancing and swinging overtook me and I believed I had a natural and God-given talent for it as well. My best friend and I were chosen to represent our school in a national championship in 2000.  During training, my friend attempted and failed a manoeuvre and broke most of her front teeth. The damage to her physical appearance completely destroyed her self-image and confidence.  She left gymnastics immediately and never set foot in a gymnasium after that. This accident had such an enormous effect on her future and this realization affected me so profoundly that it inspired my career choice.

On December 2006, my family and I were forced to flee our war torn country, Iraq. Everything comfortable was gone in an instant.  The only blessing was that my entire family found safety in Jordan. Little did I know at the time but I was to become an expert at adapting to new cultures, customs, laws, and educational systems. I worked very hard to overcome these obstacles and succeeded in gaining entrance to the prestigious Jordan University Dental School. When I heard the news, I was overwhelmed with joy as I saw my dream becoming reality. My life felt stable once again.   

I entered dental school unaware of the possibilities ahead or the path of dentistry I would choose, only mindful that one day I would be able to pursue my passion to provide effective treatment to my patients. That day came quickly and put me in a position where I could build good rapport with my patients to put them at ease and allowed me to indulge my desire to meet their needs. I’ve always had a desire to help the underprivileged when possible, I helped to found the Jordanian Association of Dental Students whose mission was to increase oral health awareness among the poorer members of society.  Even as a foreigner, I succeeded in getting approval to intern at a governmental hospital in an urban neighbourhood, because it was in keeping with the mission of the organization I helped found.

Now it was time to leave my family in Jordan and join my siblings in the United States of America, a place where I know I can keep pursuing my dream of learning the highest standards of dental care. My experience as a dental assistant in the US has broadened my horizons and exposed me to a variety of positive learning experiences in patient care and counselling that have slowly begun to become part of my natural way of working. I am also a volunteer as a research technician at the Children’s National Hospital. This experience provides the opportunity to learn more about research methods and also to enhanced my critical thinking and problem-solving skills. I find this exposure to research fascinating and hope to pursue this in my future career.

My past has had many twists and turns – I have happily studied, worked with, treated, met and learned much about people from many ethnic and social backgrounds.  These experiences have added a level of complexity, sensitivity and acuity. I look forward to the future with excitement and hope.  I have learned that much time, effort and dedication is necessary to attain the best results. I shall apply myself with exceptional enthusiasm and diligence in order to excel rather than to merely succeed.

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