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There are many other well qualified Indian dentists who have immigrated to America and are now applying to advanced standing DDS programs. Other Indian dentists who are applying may have higher grades or scores than mine. Nevertheless, I feel that I am a very strong candidate for admission to advanced standing status to study towards the DDS in your distinguished program not only because I spent one year in a small village attending to the most underserved among the underserved, but most importantly the fact that I personally came from this same social and economic location in Indian society.
My point of origin in India’s extremely hierarchical and post-colonial socio-economic structure is clearly evident in the fact that I did not even begin to study English until the age of 10 years old. I was born into a family of farmers in the remote village of Karnataka, India where we did not even have electricity. This is where I would spend my most formative period, the first 10 years, until we moved to the city. Now 27 and a permanent resident of the USA, a new mom, and giving my all to dentistry here in the United States for the last several years, I ask that the full scope of my trajectory be taken into account in the consideration of my application—from a village with no electricity and no English to the status of highly competent dental assistant in America over the course of only 17 years.
My parents made the courageous move to the city to fulfill their dream of educating their children to become professionals. This is why I worked extremely hard in high school, to make my parents proud of me and to show my appreciation for the many sacrifices that they made. Our efforts were rewarded by my acceptance to the prestigious Ambedkar Dental School in Bangalore in 2004.
For me, dentistry and dance will always be intertwined since I had already been studying classical dancing for 7 years by the time that I started dental school. In addition to becoming a dentist, I was on stage performing on numerous occasions, organizing and hosting college day functions, etc. I take great delight in all movement and when I work as a dentist I am very much aware of the interconnectedness of all of my movements just as if I were dancing. I danced my way to dentistry, through dental school, and will always dance, as it improves my capacity to heal.
It was in my third year of dentistry, with the encouragement and support of Dr. XXXX, the Chairman of our Preventive Dentistry Department, that I had the chance of channeling my organizing and leadership skills into an especially noble cause. Dr. Murali selected a group of us to conduct a survey through the public school system concerning public oral health awareness and habits in a slum area with very few dental clinics. I received an award for submitting the best survey report. It was disturbing for me at first to process and understand the way in which socio-economic status tended to determine oral health status as well. This experience served to inspire me to dedicate all the energy that I can to helping the underserved who are in most need of oral health care, here in the USA as well as back home in India.
Along with my colleagues who worked with me conducting our survey, I was most impressed by the chronic oral health problems of members of the lower economic strata of our society, especially since it is in these lower socioeconomic classes where the use of gutka (smokeless tobacco) and other concoctions derived from the Betal nut is concentrated. After completing our study, we started an anti-tobacco campaign, during which we went out into the streets distributing pamphlets and cultivating awareness among the poor concerning the dangers of tobacco addiction and also made a film documentary on tobacco-related health problems which was aired on national television. In addition, we set up a special office for tobacco-related issues and problems in our college which was very much appreciated by our Dean.
November 2009 through October 2010 was the most significant year of my life in terms of human growth, serving as a dentist in a remote village in India, helping me to more fully appreciate the profound happiness involved in the performance of our profession at the service of those who need us the most. Later, while completing my internship at the Yenepoya Dental College and Hospital in Mangalore, I began focusing my special concentration on pediatric dentistry especially Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. I seek to become a world class expert in the area of children with cleft palate and cleft lip.
After immigrating to the US, I began working in my present position as an assistant to a dentist in July of 2011. I have also worked in several volunteer positions and I want very much to dedicate my life to helping children. I anticipate continuing to develop a close collaboration with the free health care centers of Philadelphia and XXXX Children's Hospital, also in Philadelphia.
I thank you for consideration of my application.