UAB dental school can be found in Birmingham, Alabama, just north of the Birmingham airport and about 20 minutes from the bustling city center. A young, promising student such as themselves from such a distance seems quite a distance from their family or friends back home, but they quickly become immersed in the “new” culture and are able to appreciate its differences even more when they feel that the pressure is on. It is an exhilarating place for them to be. They find that the “city” provides opportunities that they had never before imagined.
Maxillofacial surgery is one of the specialties offered at the Birmingham school, which is affiliated with the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Before they enrolled, however, they visited the prestigious Dr. Morris Eye Institute of the Baptist Medical College in Ensley, Alabama, where they received their undergraduate degree in maxillofacial surgery. Dr. Morris is a world famous oral surgeon who has operated on and removed the heads and faces of over 1.5 million people, most of them African American. His clinic is located in Lithia Springs, an affluent area in Birmingham, that abounds in medical tourism. This gives Dr. Morris a wide variety of patients with different needs to treat.
As soon as they graduated from the Birmingham school, the young family of three children felt a sense of excitement about starting their own medical practice right away. But then they learned that Dr. Morris does not perform plastic surgeries. Instead, his specialty is in orthodontics, which involves the study, diagnosis, and treatment of malocclusion, or crooked teeth. The family decided that this was not a field they wanted to enter. But then, why I do what I do? They thought to themselves.
Two of Dr. Morris’s former students, Robert Brownlee and Kimberly Roberts, decided to open their own practices. And two other former students, Devon Bridges and Rashan Dunn, decided to become dentists. All of these patients had started out at the Birmingham school, and all except for Dr. Browne decided to continue on with the lessons they had learned there, while all of the others took on jobs in Birmingham and elsewhere.
The question that follows from this example is, “Why I do what I do?” If you look at the answers given to this question, you will see that all three answer differently, with each answer based on their individual reasons for choosing orthodontics as a career path. Dr. Morris’s reasons were based on personal life, as were Robert and Kimberly’s, while the third patient (Dunn) based on her desire to help others. In both cases, the answer to the question is a clear one: orthodontics help improve a person’s personal life by helping them achieve a better smile, better aligned teeth, and so on. However, in both cases, the reasons for going after this career were distinctly personal.
So, the next time you hear someone ask, “Why I do what I do?” think about your own answer, and then consider whether it matches the reasons. If it doesn’t, ask yourself again: “Why I do what I do? “. Hopefully, this brief article has given you some food for thought!