"The exposure to public health principles during SHPEP expanded my knowledge of the broader context in which dentistry operates."
Ms. Vera Yusuf participated in SHPEP in 2022. Today, she is studying public health on a pre-dental track at the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University with an expected graduation date of May 2024.
Ms. Vera Yusuf is a full-time student at the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University, NJ. She is majoring in public health, working on a pre-dental track with an expected graduation date of May 2024. In addition to being a full-time student, Ms. Yusuf is employed as a part-time dental assistant at a general dental office. She is also an active volunteer in her community providing necessities for the homeless and coaches middle school girls’ basketball.
What led to your interest in a health profession?
Among the many health professions, dentistry was the one that grabbed my attention the most from an early age. My passion grew more when I had the opportunity to work as a personal assistant at a dental office. The hands-on experience allowed me to understand and witness the impact of oral health on patients’ lives.
What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?
During my educational and career journey, I encountered several challenges, the most significant one was being a first-generation immigrant moving to the United States. The transition brought several cultural and social changes that I needed to adapt to thrive academically. Adjusting to the educational system is a significant challenge that I am still learning from, to continue excelling in my studies.
How did SHPEP influence you?
Participating in SHPEP lead to my interest in the field of public health which led me to choose public health as my major. The exposure to public health principles during SHPEP expanded my knowledge of the broader context in which dentistry operates. I learned about the importance of preventive strategies, health education, and community engagement in improving oral health outcomes.