My story is very typical of a first generation immigrant kid who grew up in Pakistan under difficult circumstances and somehow ended up at Harvard School of Dental Medicine.
I would like to believe that my tenacity, grit, hard work and talent is what defined my success. Though it may have played a small part in it, who and what I am today I owe to so many including my family, friends, mentors, teachers, and just plain good human beings who along the way pointed me in the right direction. If my parents and teachers at a very early age did not instill and distill in me the value of hard work and education and provide me with so many opportunities to do well, it would be hard to imagine that I would be where I am today. They unknowingly had set my coordinates that ultimately lead my path to HSDM.
When I arrived in Boston I was hopeful, thrilled and excited for the opportunity to be at HSDM. Shortly after my arrival I learned that I had lost my funding for tuition and as a foreign student I was doomed. At HSDM I knew I was in a great place, but when you are faced with such adversity, one cannot help but feel out of place and displaced. This is when the true spirit of HSDM came to life for me. It was individuals like Drs. Al Kazis, Lionel Pelletier, Rick Valachovic, Ray Williams, Steve Campbell, HP Weber, T. Howard Howell and the list goes on and on. These individuals and so many more, not only helped me to continue at HSDM but in fact allowed me to grow and flourish. Soon after, at the Dean’s holiday party I met my life partner Neda Shahhosseini another HSDM alum. So as you can see HSDM is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
A few years back I wrote to Bruce [Donoff] that ever since I arrived at HSDM it has been truly a magical ride. It is hard to imagine if I could ever give back as much as I have received. Frequently on Fridays when I walk back into HSDM it truly feels like that I am home, and that I belong.
That’s the true magic of HSDM and it will be a part of me for as long as I live. 150 years and going strong, but we all must play our part in making it strong.