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July Student Spotlight

Get to know CDA’s July Student Spotlight, Jose Acevedo from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC class of 2023.

What is dental school like under the stay-at-home order?

Our education has changed drastically due to the unprecedented crisis. Teaching has been conducted remotely and on digital platforms. Our summer trimester was supposed to be heavier on the preclinical aspect, and we were transitioning into more hands-on courses such as periodontics and indirect restorations. It has been difficult learning how to prep a crown through Zoom, but it has given us more time to fully understand the concept. I trust that once we are back to sim lab, we will be able to apply those concepts and overcome these challenges with the guidance of our experienced faculty.

Has the pandemic changed your career plans?

My career aspirations have not changed due to the pandemic. It is very difficult to predict what the future holds for dentistry, but no change will deter me from continuing to pursue my passion. Dental professionals are needed now more than ever. Many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and without insurance, people will be searching for more affordable dental care.

What has been your favorite dental school moment or experience so far?

Despite only being in my third trimester of dental school, I’ve had many memorable experiences. My favorite experience thus far has been visiting a community in my home country, Mexico, to provide dental care to those in need. I had the opportunity to provide dental cleanings and oral hygiene instructions to children from lower-income households. I believe that educating patients on preventive care will leave a strong, lasting impact that will empower these communities to improve their oral health. It has been a rewarding, yet emotional experience as I was finally able to give back to the same communities where I grew up.

What made you interested in dentistry?

Growing up in rural Mexico, oral health was not a priority, and it was not until we were in the United States that I made my first visit to the dentist. I didn’t know the language. It was foreign to me and I was frightened. I remember not being able to communicate with the doctor to explain all the discomfort I was having. He explained what he was doing and guided me through the process, making it less frightening. The dentist helped me overcome my fear and therefore created a meaningful doctor-patient relationship ― one that would impact my decision to pursue a career in the dental field years later.

How do you relax after a long day at school?

I enjoy exercising after a long day of school as it helps me to alleviate stress and clear my mind. Specifically, my passion for soccer and weightlifting have helped me cope with long school days.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Donuts, no questions asked!

What are you most looking forward to after dental school?

It may seem premature to be making plans post-dental school already, but I am excited to put my degree to the test and apply everything that I have learned in dental school in a private practice setting. My dream goal is to manage my own office and provide oral health care to underserved communities. I’m looking forward to experiencing continued personal and professional growth. Education is never-ending in a field like dentistry.

Why are you #cdaproud?

I am proud to be part of an amazing organization that supports and advocates for health professionals and patients. CDA has made an incredible impact in the dental community nationwide. By being part of such a powerful organization, I will be able to continue learning about the latest techniques and technology available to bring the highest-quality dental care to those I serve. Staying active in my professional organization is the best way to ensure the patient is receiving the best dental care possible. I am proud to be part of CDA’s 150-year legacy.

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