It's quite amazing how some incidents in our lives bring us to places, and not only give us a new sense of direction, but also give us an experience of a lifetime. That's exactly how I feel about being here at Children's Hospital Boston.
Following the completion of my dental training in India, I was involved in community practice for the first few years. As I was interested in the advances in dental research in the United States, I chose to pursue a Master's in Biomaterials at State University of New York at Buffalo. My research interest was in dental materials for root canal therapy in children. Through my work in research, I had an opportunity to learn about clinical pediatric dental care, and I became interested in children and dental care for children. I realized that not only was the patient care challenging and interesting, but I found the kids absolutely magical to be around. So, I decided to pursue specialty training in Pediatric Dentistry.
I was accepted to the Pediatric Dental Residency Program at Louisiana State University (LSU) in New Orleans, and I enthusiastically began my education and training in July 2005. The first few weeks were great, and I felt that I could not have made a better career choice.
Just when everything seemed perfect, Hurricane Katrina struck. It flooded an entire major city and destroyed the LSU School of Dentistry. On a personal level, Katrina not only took away what was home away from home for me, but toppled what meant most to me—my pediatric dental education and training opportunity. I was overwhelmed with an extreme sense of helplessness and desperation.
Fortunately, Children's generously offered to accept an appeal from LSU to host a resident. As luck would have it, I was chosen to go to Boston. Life has been very different for me since September 13. I was given an opportunity to rebound from homelessness and helplessness to a new place and direction in Boston, Massachusetts.
The education and training I have received thus far at Children's has proven to be one of my most challenging, yet rewarding, experiences. With its diversity of patients with the most complex medical and dental needs, Children's offers unique learning opportunities for any trainee. With the guidance of faculty, I am learning from every patient encounter, as well as from the formal lectures and seminars given almost every day.
However, it has not been all work and no fun. The diverse ethnicity of all the staff and faculty brings variety to this workplace. The personalized care offered by each and every person makes me feel like part of a big family who've stood by me at times of need and laughed with me at times of fun.
Coming to Children's has not only allowed me to continue my education and training in Pediatric Dentistry, but I believe that the experiences I have gained in Boston will enhance my knowledge, understanding and practice of pediatric dentistry overall. I am thankful for the educational opportunity given to me by Children's and am sincerely appreciative of the kindness I have received toward my personal needs.
As I write this, it brings reminiscences of all the experiences I have gained as I prepare to head back to New Orleans to serve the needy kids there. It feels hard to bid goodbye to all these friends I've made, but I know in my heart there is tons I have learned, which I can't wait to share.
I went to LSU with a desire to pursue an academic career in Pediatric Dentistry. Since coming to Children's, I have refined my long-term goals to include hospital dentistry. I wish to pursue a fellowship following my residency in Pediatric Dentistry to further define areas of interest. Afterwards, I plan to seek an academic career at a major pediatric academic health center, such as Children's Hospital Boston.
So this is definitely not goodbye, but see you soon!