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Pierre Yacoub, International Dentist from Alexandria, Egypt

I was 15 when I was woken up by the screams of my mother early in the morning as she received the news of her brother's death. On April 9th, 2017, Pope Tawadros the Second was celebrating Palm Sunday at St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria, Egypt. My uncle, serving as Church security, sacrificed his life to thwart a terrorist attack aimed at the Pope, the leader of all Coptic Orthodox Christians. I grew up quickly and have labored to honor my uncle the hero in my chosen career as a dentist, and my dedication to the cause of aiding the poor and vulnerable. 


This catastrophic attack was one of many, that occurred way too frequently, but it nonetheless shook our community to its core, leaving an indelible stain on my family. As a Coptic Orthodox Christian, my life has been deeply rooted in the church, and these incidents symbolized our collective devotion and brought us together in unity and solace. Moreover, my uncle's bravery served as an immense source of inspiration, compelling me to strive to embody his legacy and make a difference in people's lives. Bearing witness to his selfless sacrifice instilled in me a profound sense of duty and responsibility toward caring for others. He inspired those around him through his unwavering commitment to the community—a pillar of strength who epitomized devotion to a greater cause than himself. In his memory, I aspire to pursue a career that empowers me to shield individuals from the adverse effects of various dental afflictions. The profound impact that this tragedy had on me was further magnified by a transformative service trip I took with my church. Immersed in a world vastly different from my own, I witnessed the hardships endured by others and recognized the dire need for compassionate healthcare. It was during this eye-opening experience that an unyielding determination took root within me—a calling to pursue a career in dentistry. This experience would ultimately be the final flame that ignited within me the drive to pursue a career in dentistry—a path that I believe will enable me to protect others in the best way my skills would allow me, and I pray it to be a fraction of how faithfully my uncle had done so in every endeavor he took.  


Amidst the breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, I was met with the poverty-stricken communities plagued with severe general and dental health issues. In the impoverished regions I was blessed to visit, healthcare was a luxury that most could not afford. Enduring unimaginable discomfort and pain, a large portion of the population suffered diseases that would hinder their overall quality of life. It was at this time that I felt a calling, a resounding conviction that dentistry was the vessel through which the passion for service and aiding those in need could be channeled. The combination of these experiences has cemented my fidelity to pursue a career in dentistry. Dentistry is a profession that amalgamates the essence of science, creativity, and compassion; it is one in which I can put my natural talents and unrelenting commitment to helping others to good use. The complexity of oral health and the numerous ways dentists improve people's lives fascinate me. Additionally, dentistry provides a special fusion of professionalism and sensitivity that encourages lifelong connections. Way beyond artistry and science, I am determined by the belief of quality dental care is accessible to everyone regardless of the circumstances. To envision a future where oral health disparities are eradicated, and where there is a sense of knowledge within the community in maintaining their well-being. In order to enable people to take charge of their oral health, I want to be an advocate for preventative dentistry that places a strong emphasis on education and awareness. My involvement has also educated me on the importance of understanding a variety of cultural standpoints.  


With my background of being Egyptian-American and my participation in the Coptic Orthodox Church, I have acquired a profound appreciation of cultural diversities. This also aids in my ability to tailor specific care and meet the needs and cultural contexts of patients. I have a strong desire to have a positive influence on the communities I work with. To help individuals who don't have sufficient access to dental treatment and close the gaps in oral health inequities. I strive to inform people about the value of preventative measures and dental hygiene through community outreach activities. As I position myself on the precipice of my career in dentistry, I am quenched with a sensation of determination and purpose. In order to promote an atmosphere of growth and cooperation, I am eager to work with instructors, mentors, and other students. Most importantly, I am excited to embark on this journey alongside patients, establish trust, build connections, and witness the transformative power of dentistry unfold.