Hometown: Hard to answer, moved a lot (Accra, Ghana; Hillsdale, MI; Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA)…
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Michigan
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: English Major
Name of Dental School: University of Maryland Dental School
Residency Program: Howard University Hospital Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Favorite Quote: “A little learning is a dangerous thing, drink deep or taste not.”
Contact Info: email@example.com
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I finished residency in 2014. I left the Maryland/DC area and went to Cincinnati for a year for a change of scenery. I came back to the DMV and started working for another company and promptly decided that I wanted to work for myself. After a long (8 months!) planning and buildout phase, I recently opened my oral surgery office in Odenton, MD.
If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell her?
No for real tho, best advice is to do something creative and interesting with your time off. Life is too short to not enrich yourself in art, music and literature. And above all else, be gentle with yourself.
What advice would you give to a dental student looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Sometimes the destination you desire has no path. Don’t spend time hunting for the road less traveled. Instead, grab a (metaphorical) torch and blaze the path yourself.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
Doubting myself. It is hard to be black and to be female in a profession with very small percentages of both. I am a pink unicorn. However, with time I’ve come to realize that it works to my advantage. Just because no one has done things quite the way I want to do things doesn’t mean that it is wrong.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to residency?
Even if it feels like a shot in the dark at a moving target, if that is your field of choice:
Take. The. Shot.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
It sounds corny, but I really do enjoy helping people. I love to educate them about their choices. I get in detail to the level of the patient’s interest and understanding.
Can you please walk us through a typical workday?
Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy…Not at all actually. I go to the office and see patients for consultations and procedures in the morning and then I do administration paper work and marketing in the afternoon.
What do you feel is the most challenging part of your job? The easiest part?
The most challenging part has been learning the business side of dentistry. The easiest part has been doing the procedures I was trained to do.
What has been your favorite memory so far in your career?
Favorite memory is from a mission trip to Eritrea in 2013 with a group called Surgeons for Smiles. We were getting ready to do jaw surgery and the attending I was with was on one end of the OR and I was at the head of the patient speaking with Anesthesia. Turns out the patient was wildly anaphylactically allergic to the IV amoxicillin. Thankfully he was intubated but I was literally watching his head swell up so fast it was moving him across the bed. We were able to bring the swelling down, but then one of his lungs collapsed. We were able to manage that and then he got pulmonary edema and we had to use Lasix to flush the water out. It is my favorite memory because most importantly, the patient lived and was okay. The second thing was I got to use just about every skill I have ever learned in a two-hour period. It dawned on me that just because I sometimes feel like I am not doing anything right doesn’t mean that I am not learning and absorbing the information. My confidence level dramatically increased after that.
What do you feel makes your specialty stand out from other health professions?
I truly enjoy oral surgery because it combines dentistry, medicine, magic, and art. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but oral surgeons work on the full gamut of patients from trauma to facial and plastic surgery. There are few other professions with such breadth.
What gives you the greatest motivation to get up every day to go to work?
Gotta pay them loans baby…
But seriously, I get paid to take people out of pain. It doesn’t get much better than that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take yourself so seriously.
How do you manage to balance your work life and your romantic relationship?
My significant other and I work together so that has made for some tough moments. We have days where we forbid each other from talking about the office and we set aside a date night at least a few times a month. It helps.
Do you have any passions outside of treating patients? If so, what are they and how do you find time to pursue these passions?
I love to write. I have won speech writing contests as well as short story contests. I enroll in classes to force myself to take it seriously.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love spending time with my niece and nephew. They are truly joyful creatures and it rubs off on me.
In an alternate universe, what career do you think you would be in right now if healthcare wasn’t an option for you?
I would have become a textbook editor. Science classes would have been a whole lot easier for me if the grammar and wording hadn’t been so horrifying and arcane.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
- Changes every day, but right now I’m into Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Allan Rayman for music.
- Books, I’ve been listening to a lot of Audible books about succeeding in business
- I’m not much for TV but I like Blackish and anything on HGTV.
- Give me a thrilling mob movie anyday. I actually really loved the Accountant because it was gratuitous violence, but also shone a spotlight on Autism which affects members of my family.
Thank you so much for the awesome feature Dr. Buckle! You are much appreciated! I love the advice of not taking yourself so seriously; you gotta have fun while doing what you need to do! I love your personal touches throughout your answers too! Thanks again for taking the time to help inspire those who wish to become as successful as you are!
Posted on March 30th, 2017