Summer 2016 was a turning point in my dental career. I finished my fifth year in the Army and had one more year to serve on active duty to fulfill my commitment for dental school and my residency program. During dental school, I thought it would be simple to serve my time and leave the military, but as the day of decision approached, it was far from easy.
For 39 days a year, I wear the uniform of the U. S. Army. That’s 12 weekends and 15 days of annual training. But for 365 days a year, I am a dental student, a person and a member of a community. Veterans face barriers to accessing dental care they need. Opportunities arise around us every day to serve others. How can we use our knowledge and skills as dentists to serve those who served our country?
Last week the buzz around school was all about plans for the three-day weekend coming up. Between pool parties, weekend getaways, and lab work, everyone sounded pretty busy. But this holiday also gives us a chance to express appreciation for our armed forces – and a reason to find out more about our fellow students who serve. The Armed Forces – Army, Navy, and Air Force – have health professions scholarships which include dental school. We spoke with four D2s about their plans to serve as military dentists.