Saveet’s interest in dentistry has led her across the globe, from her native Canada, where she worked as a dental assistant, to India, where she earned a bachelor’s in dental surgery, to Penn Dental Medicine, where she is a student in the Program for Advanced Standing Students (PASS), and to Botswana, Africa as a dental extern through the Botswana-UPenn Partnership.
Penn Dental Medicine‘s PASS program is a two-year program for students who have already achieved a dental degree in another country and want to practice in the United States. The program will help Saveet fulfill her goal of becoming a general dentist in this country, and eventually, of using her skills to bring about awareness of, and changes in, oral health care in underserved countries .
“I hope to one day implement a program that will provide superior oral health care to developing areas and remote communities worldwide,” she says.
As she works toward her goals, the faculty Saveet has met at Penn Dental Medicine have been an inspiration to her. “It has been motivating to see firsthand the success of faculty who have graduated from a foreign dental school like I have and are now pursuing their careers as some of American dentistry’s leading clinicians, teachers, and researchers,” she says.
She feels further connected to others who have studied dentistry abroad through her membership in Penn Dental Medicine’s Indian Student Dental Association, where she has met fellow students who share her experiences, background, and culture.
“A transformative experience”
Last year, Saveet had a chance to gain hands-on experience providing oral health care in a developing country. On a three-week externship with the Botswana-UPenn Partnership, she joined with Penn nursing students to create an oral health component within an existing community-based health program in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, which boasts Africa’s fastest-growing economy. There, as she collaborated with nurses to educate the community on diet, nutrition, and proper oral hygiene–a challenge in the country with the world’s highest incidence of HIV and AIDS—Saveet had what she calls “a transformative experience.”
“My experience in Botswana was a step toward fulfilling my goal of providing the quality dental care I believe all people deserve,” she says.”I hope to improve the overall health of those who do not have access to sufficient medical care, and Penn Dental Medicine is the ideal environment for me to build on my knowledge base and develop the skills I need.”
“It has been motivating to see firsthand the success of faculty who have graduated from a foreign dental school like I have and are now pursuing their careers as some of American dentistry’s leading clinicians, teachers, and researchers.”Saveet Mangat