Pediatric Residency, Older, Community Service

The weakest part of my application to your competitive program in Pediatric Dentistry is probably my age, since it has been 18 years since I finished dental school. Of course, the strongest part of my application is what I have done since that time, with a distinguished career in dentistry in both the military and civilian life. Most of all, it would be an honor to be taken considered for selection on the basis of my volunteer, mission activity as a dentist.

Immigrating to America in the early 1800's, my Jewish family was industrious and frugal, over the course of several generations they were able to amass a large fortune which their descendents would later give away. My grandfather gave 100s of millions of dollars to charity, including all of the property presently occupied by XXXX Hospital. My father flew the very first and many more angle flights to pick up families and take them to XXXX for treatment in the 60's and 70's - with our own airplanes. My family also built boys clubs with funding for life. I will take over my father’s position on these boards when he dies. I have always been taught Service before Self, integrity in all we do and Honor, also principals of the military which I served for many years. Service is my life and Pediatric Dentistry is the center of the world. While in the military, the vast majority of my patients were adults. Nevertheless, the few children that I did have the opportunity to care for in the military reached deep into my heart and planted a seed, especially those that I served on humanitarian mission trips to the Developing World.

Very soon after I left the full-time military, I began filling in at the Pediatrics clinic of Dr. XXXX who had suffered a stroke. The staff told me that I was the best that they have seen and begged me to buy this clinic but I had already purchased another adult office a few months earlier. My first office was in a small town called XXXX, Arkansas, starting with 3 chairs and expanding to six, growing in time to a patient load of 3000, half of whom were children. We did not discriminate on the basis of age. In fact my own grandmother was our patient at 90 years old. I offer as testimony the fact that she is still alive at 103 with all of her teeth.

I remember a 10- year-old boy who came in at the end of one day with 3 teeth out (8,9,10) and the other front 6 remaining pushed back. I performed endo on the three teeth out, re implanted and bonded others, fixing the teeth in place. I also removed parts of the bench that he had hit from his upper lip that he hit, using 6.0 prolien Mon-filament suture to close the lip and skin tears. He was afraid it would leave a scar and he would not be able to act as this was his passion in life. I followed him for 3 months with revisions and final treatment. The damage became totally invisible by that time and he is currently performing on Broadway.

Another child patient that jumps into my mind as among my most salient and treasured memories was in Guatemala; he had a cliff lip with no bone involvement. Since I had extensive surgery training in the Navy at the National Naval Medical Center, I felt comfortable enough to do the minor revision and let a local dentist to follow up and remove sutures a few weeks later. We worked with the local population in each town and tried to teach them about preventive dentistry at the same time that we treated them, donating our remaining supplies at each location to the doctor who would be visiting next. While in Guatemala I was able to do countless numbers of anterior strip crowns, making everyone smile. We where only suppose to see maybe 350 patients a day with 2 docs and 5 assistants. But when we heard from our local security that people had lined up for 2 days, sleeping in line, we went on14 hour shifts with minimal breaks so that we could see as many as 700 a day. Every day we recruited more people from the community, dentists and assistants and taught them while we attended to the population.

My central passion now and the reason why I am applying to your program is because I would like to teach dentistry, especially Pediatric Dentistry, incorporating a focus on the special challenges facing children in the Developing World. Central to the balance of my career will be my humanitarian mission trips with the military as well as my church. My father and I are First Lutheran as was my grandfather and I am the Vice President of my church. It is most imperative for kids to have every chance to succeed in life and dental care is especially important since it nourishes a positive self-image. 

I grew up as a competitive swimmer and have been a swim coach for the past 12 years. I believe swimming builds many core values that help shape abilities over the course of a lifetime. To be the best swimmer takes a lot of commitment and determination and this has also driven me forward as a dentist. Along with volunteering for the Arkansas Mission of Mercy free dental program every year, serving in the pedo section, I also allow the free Dental Clinic to send Moms and their kids to my clinic for free treatment when the mother is in the process of trying to find a new job.

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