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What first fired my interest in dentistry was suffering an accident two years ago that resulted in a fractured jaw. I required extensive oral surgery and became interested in the work undertaken to repair the damage done. During the process, a close relationship developed with my surgeon and I have worked with him as a volunteer since that time. I was able to understand the anxieties of patients and to allay them to some degree from my own experiences.
I was the victim of abuse during the first seven years of my life and, like most such victims, I have always been acutely sensitive to the emotional needs of others and especially aware of non-verbal signals of distress. My own emotional turmoil had its effects on various aspects of my life including my academic work but this was resolved when I sought help during my undergraduate studies. The results were dramatically positive and my grades immediately improved to A’s. This situation has had the effect of creating an empathetic nature and a desire to help others and I regard dentistry as an excellent path to achieving this goal.
I have been involved in various volunteer activities throughout my academic career including assisting in an educational project for the benefit of poor Ecuadorian children which was a truly life-changing experience and benefited me as much as the children. These activities have spurred in me the desire to ‘make a difference’ with my life rather than merely to ‘make a living’.
I come from a culture in which dental hygiene and oral health are generally given a very low priority and where total loss of teeth at an early age is often regarded as natural. There exists in India a very significant shortage of dental professionals and oral surgeons to provide even basic education and treatment. I am a frequent visitor to India and one of my goals would be to give some of my time to training people in providing basic education in the importance of oral hygiene and health and in providing free treatment to impoverished children in need of reparative and restorative dental surgery as ways of ‘giving back’. The ability to smile is important in all cultures but especially in South Asia and being able to give someone, especially a child, his or her smile back is a gift that provides immeasurable benefits to them.
It would be my hope to undertake research in the areas of tissue engineering and reparative dentistry, should my application succeed. These are the areas of special interest that will assist me in reaching my ultimate goal of practicing in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
I have happily studied, worked and socialized with people of many different cultural and social backgrounds and look forward to extending this experience during my participation in the program. I know that cultural awareness and sensitivity is very important in relating properly to colleagues and patients and having ‘straddled’ two very different cultures, I regard myself as being particularly well equipped in this regard.
I am aware that dentistry is a very competitive field and that there will be many well qualified applicants for the program. However I genuinely feel that I am an exceptional candidate. My academic achievements and awards will provide reassurance as to my solid work ethic and my ability to excel in my chosen areas of study. I have undertaken significant formal studies in relevant areas such as biology, physiology, chemistry and physics which will provide a firm basis for my studies in the program. I also promise very enthusiastic participation in the program and a passion for dentistry that will be hard for many applicants to match.