The University of Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry honored International Dental Studies (IDS) students Drs. Mohammad Faizan Ali and Kunal Karan with the 5th Annual Dr. F. Gene and Rosemary Dixon Scholarship Award during a ceremony held in early November. Ali and Karan, both members of the Class of 2011, were recognized for their exemplary work during their first year as IDS students. Each will receive a check for $3,000 during graduation.
Longtime donors and friends of the Dugoni School of Dentistry, the Dixons created the Dr. F. Gene and Rosemary Dixon IDS Endowment in spring 2005 to provide scholarships for international dental students at the Dugoni School of Dentistry. Recipients are selected based on demonstrated leadership qualities and academic achievement during their first year in the IDS program. The Dugoni School of Dentistry is the only dental school in the country that has a scholarship award exclusively for IDS students.
Dr. Ali received his Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree from Bharati Vidyapeeth Dental College and Hospital in Pune, India. He served as a student clinic advisory representative during the 2009-10 school year, and is currently serving as the ASDA student representative for his class. Upon graduation, he plans to obtain a Masterâ€™s of Public Health degree. Ali's wife, Dr. Naira Tariq Kraipak, is also a student in the IDS Class of 2011.
Dr. Ali and classmate Mr. Daniel Hammer have been instrumental in bringing dentistry's potential role in the U.S. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine (STEM) program to the attention of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Through their initiative, in 2011 these associations will consider advocating for the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to make dentistry a part of STEM. If efforts are successful, all international dental students in the United States will have the opportunity to remain in the country to practice dentistry for an extra 17 months after graduation.
"In addition to being an exemplary member of the IDS Class of 2011, Faizan has been a champion for international dental students throughout the country," said Dr. Patricia King, Director of the IDS Program. "I'm extremely proud of the work he has put into pushing legislation to open doors for international students upon graduation from American dental schools."
Dr. Karan received his Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree from Manipal College of Dental Sciences in Manipal, India. Prior to Pacific, he earned a masterâ€™s degree in Oral Biology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. Dr. Karan served as IDS Class President during the 2009-10 academic year and again this year. He is also on the IDS Alumni Student Board.
"Kunal is one of the most proactive IDS class presidents that the Dugoni School of Dentistry IDS program has ever had," commented Dr. King. "He is constantly looking out for his classmates by speaking to administration and instructors, scheduling class changes, and making sure that IDS is not overlooked in any curricular implementations.
"Kunal also organized a remarkable memorial for his classmate, Dr. Nilesh Pillai, who passed away in December 2009 in a tragic car accident," added King. "He stepped up and made sure that Nilesh was remembered by not only his classmates but the entire dental school community."
IDS students already hold dental degrees from schools outside the United States but need accreditation to practice in the country. By completing the IDS program at Dugoni School of Dentistry, a student earns a U.S. dental degree and eligibility to sit for any state or regional dental board in the country. The two-year accelerated program is popular, receiving more than 500 applications and enrolling just 22 students in July of each year.