As they drove home to New York City from Rutgers University nearly a decade ago, Dr. Marcus Johnson and Dr. Edly Destine may not have imagined they would one day consider each other family. Their relationship is a testament to the power of mentorship, friendship, common interests and following through.
Dr. Johnson, then a third-year dental student at New York University, was participating in a panel of young professionals that Saturday morning. Dr. Destine, considering dental school at the time, was impressed with the humor Dr. Johnson used to answer one question and approached him when the panel concluded. After a brief chat, they discovered that they both lived in New York and rode back to Manhattan together.
Their relationship did not materialize out of thin air, however. “Dr. Destine said he wanted to keep in touch, and he actually did,” Dr. Johnson said. “I thought, ‘This is an individual who follows through and is a person of his word.’”
Dr. Johnson became a mentor to Dr. Destine as he worked his way through dental school, and then offered advice when he wanted to start his own practice after graduation. Now that Dr. Destine is a general dentist and Dr. Johnson is a specialist, they are able to confidently refer patients to each other. And they hang out in New York, where they both still live.
“You cannot live life without a mentor,” Dr. Destine said. “It’s so helpful to have someone to guide you, who knows what you’re looking for in life. All that Marcus has done for me makes me want to pay it forward and help others.”
However, they no longer see themselves solely in the context of a mentor-mentee relationship.
“We’re brothers,” Dr. Johnson said.
To spend a day in the life of Dr. Johnson, check out the video below.
~American Dental Association
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