Center Stage With A Student - Mark Veazie, D3 Student Doctor
INTERVIEW WITH D3 STUDENT DOCTOR, MARK VEAZIE
So Mark, tell us why you chose dentistry as a future profession?
I always knew I had an interest in a career in healthcare, but I did not know which one best suited me. It was during a summer shadowing experience that dentistry caught my eye. I love how you are able to develop a relationship with your patients while being hands-on with their treatment. I also saw that healthcare disparities were a common topic among lawmakers and physicians, but dental care access was rarely discussed. I knew that I wanted to play a part in improving dental care access to all populations, especially those that are low-income.
Tell us a little bit about what are you most looking forward to when we get back to school?
As a D3 student, I’m most looking forward to continuing the treatment of patients. The COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately put a halt to our clinical experience, but I’m looking forward to resuming this aspect. I also just miss seeing my classmates at UCLA because they are a huge part of why being a student is enjoyable. I can’t wait for us to be reunited!
This pandemic has really put a spotlight on the importance of healthcare providers and their value to the community, in what ways do you see your role as a future healthcare provider changing?
While students and faculty understand the importance of healthcare providers, I think this pandemic has highlighted this to the general public. This pandemic has shown that the healthcare workers, especially those in hospitals, are an indispensable part of our society. I think going forward the importance of dentists and midlevel providers will be emphasized because they will be relied upon to recognize the signs and symptoms of disease and refer them appropriately.
How are you keeping yourself busy, besides keeping up with your Zoom courses?
Mark: Although this pandemic has altered our learning experience, it has given us students time for other endeavors. It has given us time to work on our personal statements and applications for residencies, as the application cycle is upon us. More importantly, it has given me the opportunity to spend time with my family. As an out-of-state student, I only get to see my family during the breaks, so this school closure has been a blessing in disguise.
Are you thinking about next steps after you graduate dental school?
Public health and improving healthcare disparities have always been a passion of mine. With those goals in mind, I have decided to pursue a residency in pediatric dentistry. I believe a career in pediatrics allows dentists to prevent dental diseases before they occur, hopefully improving patients’ oral health and minimizing financial burden. Additionally, pediatric dentists play a pivotal role in establishing good oral hygiene and dietary habits for their patients; pediatric dentists set the foundation for their patients’ relationships with their teeth and the dentist. I would also like to be involved in healthcare legislation work because, ultimately, that is how healthcare disparities are solved.
A little background on Mark:
Mark is the president of the Associated Student Body, the VP of the Student Chapter of American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the VP of the Special Needs Patient Care Club. He is also the recipient of the Oral Health Foundation Student Scholarship Award from the Oral Health Foundation of the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the No-Hee Park Scholarship for Academic Excellence and Leadership.
In the first year of my deanship, I found myself surrounded by faculty, students, staff, and fellow academic leaders wanting to introduce me to the beauty of this campus, this city, and this outstanding dental school – UCLA Dentistry. I have been warmly welcomed by the entire community to what has now become my home.
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