Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Career Plans: To pursue a General Practice Residency post-graduation and eventually go into private practice.
I know it’s cliché to say but it really is a warm, welcoming and family atmosphere here.
One significant experience can have a big impact on a person. For DDS 2019 student Allen Abrishami, who originally had plans to become a psychologist, a trip to the dentist altered the course of his career path.
"I went to the dentist with my mom because she was in a lot of pain," recalls Allen. "It was awesome to watch someone within 15-20 minutes get her out of what she described as the most excruciating pain of her life." This experience piqued Allen's interest in dentistry - and wanting to learn more, he got himself a summer job in the practice as an office assistant. By the end of the season, he was hooked. A meeting with Stan Constantino, director of admissions at the Dugoni School of Dentistry, during a career fair at his alma mater UCLA, led him here. The school's three-year program and Helix Curriculum were a draw for him and he couldn't be happier about his decision.
Allen is taking full advantage of all the student organizations and opportunities available at the Dugoni School for students to get involved and grow as individuals. He is co-lead of the Integrated Preclinical Technique (IPT) tutors. This program was created to help first-year students develop their hand skills. Allen is responsible for the logistics of the program, from tutoring and scheduling to managing more than 60 student tutors and working with faculty members who teach some of the sessions. "I struggled a lot during my first year and this program was really helpful to me," says Allen. "It's great to be able to teach the first year students and have them learn from my mistakes."
Allen is also president of the Alpha Omega (AO) Dental Fraternity. AO is the oldest international dental organization, comprising of over 100 alumni and student chapters in ten countries, and has the distinction of being the oldest international Jewish medical organization. Allen coordinates lectures and dinners and even hosted a matzah party for Passover in his little studio apartment. One thing that Allen really loves about the fraternity is that it is open to everyone who is interested.
"I'm working hard to build recognition for this organization," says Allen. "And just like the Dugoni School in general, it's so inclusive and does not discriminate."
Allen serves as co-president of the Student Community Outreach for Public Education (SCOPE) program, which is a student-run volunteer community service organization at the dental school. SCOPE officers encourage the student body to take active roles in sponsoring and participating in activities such as prevention education and screenings to underserved members in the Bay Area community.
"SCOPE does a lot for our community," says Allen. "We really try and go to every single event and provide free dental education to those interested in learning more, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status. As long as you're at the table at an event, our student volunteers are willing to help."
Allen really enjoys being able to take what he's learned in school so far to help people in the community. "It's been such a rewarding experience and I'm so happy that I chose to be a part of SCOPE and help out those in the community," says Allen.
About the school overall and his experience here, Allen couldn't be more pleased. "It's definitely challenging but you don't feel pressure from your classmates." While there is pressure from the heavy workload and the fast-paced coursework, his classmates are supportive. "I know it's cliché to say but it really is a warm, welcoming and family atmosphere here."