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Orthodontics Residency, Dentist from Iran

I qualified as a dentist in May 2014 and have worked as a general dentist since October of that year in California. I have long had an interest in orthodontics arising from the experiences of a family member. My brother suffered a severe malocclusion as a child and was teased and laughed at as a result. Our family lived in Iran and my father was unable to afford the necessary orthodontic treatment at that time. My brother’s suffering fired an interest in dentistry, and specifically orthodontics, which fitted well with a decision I had made anyway to work in the field of healthcare.

I decided to ‘test the water’ while still in high school and was fortunate in obtaining vacation work with a dentist in Tehran who was one of the few dentists in the country who had dedicated his life to travelling the country in order to treat the poor, underserved, rural population.  Any doubts about my choice of career quickly disappeared witnessing this kindly, skilled and dedicated dentist doing so much good. Seeing grimaces of pain turn into smiles of relief and the gratitude of the patients and their families was sufficient to persuade me that I had found a way to ‘make a difference’ rather than merely ‘make a living’. I have never regretted my choice.

I was able to relate closely to the poor patients that we treated as I was myself subject to a double exclusion in Iran, firstly because I was a member of the Baha’i faith living in a theocratic Islamic state and secondly by the poverty and lack of opportunity that I and my family suffered as a result of our faith. It was not going to be possible for me or my brother to attend university in Iran and so we moved to the US. My brother’s occlusion was slowly corrected here by the use of a brace and it was a delight to see his confidence and self-esteem grow as the brace began to take effect.

A special interest in the treatment of ‘special needs’ child patients developed while undertaking an observer-ship undertaken over a period of 10 months with a dentist specialising in the treatment of such patients, many of whom suffered from autism.  This observer-ship was an excellent introduction into the techniques applied in soothing and reassuring special needs children and in gaining their confidence and cooperation. I have a nephew who was born, five years ago, with a cleft palate and related dental problems and who is also autistic and so I can relate to the feelings of the parents of such children and have a great wish to help them as far as I am able. Once qualified as an orthodontist, it is my intention to treat special needs, particularly autistic, children as well as pursuing general practice in an underserved locality. I also hope to treat third world members of my Baha’i faith who cannot afford orthodontic treatment. I am the grateful beneficiary of the US policy on the admission of refugees and am absolutely determined to be of help to those who are less fortunate than I have been.

I moved to the US as a refugee 15 years ago. I did well academically and graduated with a degree in cell biology in 2006, despite the challenge of trying to function in a totally foreign environment and in a language I had previously only spoken during my English classes in Iran.  However, during my junior year at UCD my father became seriously ill and had heart surgery. He and my mother do not speak English and they required my constant assistance during medical appointments, translating, and managing the household until my father recovered. This added stress, along with my three-hour commute to class, caused my grades to slip for a time but I can assure the reader that this level of performance is not a true reflection of my academic abilities. My family obligations are now considerably reduced and will not affect my future studies.

I am attracted to the specialty because I have personal experience of its potential to dramatically enhance the lives of patients, not only aesthetically but also in providing relief from discomfort and in enabling patients to be able to chew food properly and in providing a wider choice of diet. I am also very excited at the prospect of joining a specialty in which so many advances in techniques and materials are made and continue to be made. I want to be a part of future advances and hope to be able to assist in research especially, if possible, in the matter of ‘cleft palates’ and the most effective orthodontic interventions for affected child patients.

I have happily studied, worked, socialized with and treated people of many ethnic and social backgrounds. I am happy to share knowledge of my own culture and to learn about others. I enjoy meeting and engaging with people and am blessed with a well-developed sense of humour. I am fully fluent in English and am a native speaker of Farsi.

I believe that my experience to date will enable me to ‘add value’ to the program and I can promise highly committed, enthusiastic and diligent participation within it. I look forward to sharing the fruits of my academic and professional life to date and receiving the benefit of those that my fellow students will bring to the program.

Thank you for considering my application.

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