HSDM really is a place like none other – its intimate class size, its history, and its training are what drew me to apply and attend. What was most special about my experience? That’s easy – the dear friends I made, this history of the school, and the amazing faculty. I made some life long friendships: Jose Marchena’96, Joe Torio’96, Bill Tonidandel’96, Tony Chammas’96, Joy Wang’95, and Sohail Simjee’95. Jose is my closest friend and my partner in the non-profit I founded, Smile Bangladesh.
As someone who has a passion for the history of medicine, I loved spending hours in Countway Library, in particular the Kazanjian Archive–reveling in the history of Dr Kazanjian (Class of 1905) and his achievements during the Great War. HSDM has amazing faculty –in all departments. Dr. Draheim, Dr. Norris, Dr. Brown who spent their days teaching my class the ins and out of restorative dentistry. Dr. Pelletier, who was my favorite faculty for crown and bridge. My favorite course was patient-doctor with Dr. Ellen Libert ’87. Spending time at the MGH in the OMS department with Dean Donoff and Dr. Kaban, as well as Dr. Seldin and Dr. August, helped shape my desire and motivation to pursue a career in academic oral and maxillofacial surgery (I am currently a professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Rutgers).
There is no one who guided me more than Dr. Walter Guralnick. Perhaps my most memorable HSDM experience was my first – my dental school interview with Dr. G. Taking the “T” from Longwood to MGH, I was a bit intimidated walking into his office. We talked about my interest in history and interest in oral surgery. I had no idea I was being interviewed by one of the giants in American oral and maxillofacial surgery, the father of the MD-OMS training program, and the person who trained the surgeon who in turn trained me (Steve Roser’68). That leads me to my next point, HSDM is such a magical place because of its alumni connections. As a young dental student who hoped to become an oral surgeon, Dr. G encouraged me to train under Dr. Roser at Columbia. Training under Roser developed my two professional loves- orthognathic surgery and surgical philanthropy. Orthognathic surgery is my area of expertise at Rutgers. And it was Dr. Roser who took me on medical missions to South America, experiences that later inspired me to create Smile Bangladesh, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to providing free surgery to impoverished children and adults in Bangladesh (where I am from) with facial clefts. To date, Smile Bangladesh surgeons have provided over 1,100 free surgeries! So I guess you could say that Dr. Roser is my professional father and Dr. Guralnick is my professional grandfather. HSDM truly shaped my professional life and I am blessed to be a graduate of such a remarkable place. Happy 150th HSDM!!