¶ … breakfast of hash browns, sausages, and eggs for 60 homeless men and women in inner city Oakland, California would not seem like a standard starting point for a career in dentistry. Social work, maybe, but dentistry was not the first thing on my mind after rounding up other members from my church to work at the Open Door Mission. It was not even 6 o'clock in the morning when I was distributing food and noticed one of our regular men give up his sausage to a friend, an act he never would have done if everything were ok with his health. Concerned, I asked him what was going on. He replied that he had a toothache. As if in a film reel, I looked around and realized how many missing teeth had smiled back at me every single day at the Open Door Mission.
Dental care is not typically covered under emergency services plans for the indigent. Oral hygiene should be considered a necessity, but instead, we treat it as a luxury. There is so much more to oral health than a flashy white smile! I knew this right away when I saw this kindhearted soul pass on his beloved sausage because he was in too much pain to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. My heart ached for him and for the others in the room. I wanted to find a way to help the people at the center doing whatever work I could to improve the lives of others, as my grandfather did.
I grew up looking up to my grandfather. In the 1960s, when South Korea was recovering from the Korean War, he volunteered to open a free clinic on a school playground. His focus? Teeth. He would examine the...
Although his immediate family opposed his volunteer work, claiming that they needed more money, he continued to live a life in service to others. I was touched by my grandfather's unwavering dedication. It was not about the money for him. I strive most of all to follow in my grandfather's footsteps.
I wanted to devote my life to serve others in the health care field just like my grandfather. My mother suffered financial hardship because of my grandfather's dedication to the poor, and she feared I would turn out just like him. Yet deep down she knew that her father was doing the right thing. Both my mother and my father chose to teach at the university level in STEM fields, proving that they both recognize the value of helping others. With my ability to think logically and be a problem solver, I initially decided to be an engineer too. I graduated from Yonsei University, one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea, with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. I wanted to help change the world through water treatment and later I completed my master's degree at UC Berkeley, intending to work in that field. However, after working in a lab it occurred to me that I was missing something. Our research was valuable and interesting, but it was hard to see the impact on individual human beings. I realized that I longed to directly communicate with people and witness the immediate outcomes. I began thinking of ways that I could help others in a more personal way. In memory of my grandfather, I decided to try dentistry.
Although I was wary about dentistry at first, after…
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Personal Vision and Learning Mission Statement Ethical Framework Professional Strengths and Limitations Identification and fulfillment of Professional Potential Professional Diversity Integration of Theory and Practice Ongoing Professional Developments Alcohol (and other drugs) abuse is not just a problem of an individual but that of the whole society. This implies that the whole society has a role to play in the rehabilitation of the people who resort to drug abuse when they find it hard
Person The pain was unbearable. I hardly slept that night. Regardless of the fact that I had earlier on ingested two pain killers, the toothache refused to fade away. To this day, this particular night remains the longest I have ever had. Anyone out there who has experienced the agony of a toothache perfectly understands what I mean. For the entire night, the toothache kept subsiding and then coming back
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