AAE 2014 Annual Session from a Resident's Perspective
By Nicole A. Shinbori, D.D.S.
The 2014 AAE Annual Session in Washington, D.C., was the first Annual Session I have attended, and I was excited to see what the meeting had to offer for current endodontic residents.
As we all know, endodontic residency is two to three demanding years of our lives when we learn the most about current literature, modern techniques and new materials.
However, I was pleased to discover that the Annual Session lectures and workshops offered unique perspectives and innovative research not always found in textbooks and the Journal of Endodontics. Session topics ranged from improving microsurgical outcomes to managing difficult canal anatomy to endodontic staff management. So much was presented that the only way to listen to it all will be through the Live Learning Center.
As a resident, my favorite moment of the meeting was walking around during the table clinic/scientific research presentations and discussing the multitude of studies with my fellow residents. It was an impressive display of hard work and dedication by the residents from each program to push the AAE to new heights as our specialty continues to “strive for perfection.”
On Friday evening, Treloar & Heisel sponsored the Resident Reception, where attendees were able to catch up with old and new friends alike.
From my perspective, the AAE Annual Session is a definite “must” during residency. The meeting not only gives residents a much-needed break from residency for a few days, but it also presents the invaluable opportunity to connect with alumni, hear lectures from the legends of endodontics and meet with vendors about new products before they come to market. With the 2014 AAE Annual Session in the books, I return to residency informed and inspired, and I look forward to Seattle in 2015.
AAE 2014 Annual Session from a New Educator's Perspective
By Melissa Marchesan, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
As a newer educator, attending the 2014 Annual Session in Washington, D.C., provided a professionally and personally rewarding experience.
The communication with faculty members from other schools allowed for the discussion of mutual concerns and solutions to everyday issues related to teaching. Listening to the different presentations not only informed me of what others are doing, but also inspired new research ideas. The presence of all the vendors together in the exhibit hall was certainly beneficial to compare and experience new technologies – files, irrigating devices and even types of plastic teeth available for teaching predoctoral students. In addition, it is always enjoyable to reunite and socialize with former graduates, former classmates and dear friends from the United States and all over the world.
One thing I will certainly try to keep in perspective after this meeting is a remark made by the keynote speaker, James M. Bradley, at the President’s Breakfast as he was speaking about his father and six other young men raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi, “Challenge your own impossibility!”
Roadmap to Endodontics in the U.S. for Foreign Trained Dentists: An Overview
By Manpreet S. Sarao, B.D.S., D.D.S., M.S.D.
The United States of America has been and will remain a preferred destination for dental professionals around the world looking for greener pastures. This land of opportunities offers a broad scope of professional growth.
Amidst the available options, one needs to consider his or her immigration status, professional background, family circumstances and financial stability. As challenging as it is to move to a new country, a carefully planned strategy will help you realize your dream of specializing in endodontics in the U.S.
I will elaborate on the following areas:
Once you graduate from a residency program, your options will depend on whether you have a D.D.S. accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation or not. With a North American D.D.S., you have the liberty to start your own practice or become an associate. Residents with foreign dental degrees have limited options of practicing only in states that accept CODA non-accredited dental degrees. The other option is to pursue an academic career.
Your future goals and your past professional qualifications will decide the appropriate course of action for you. For one whose dream is to practice as a clinical endodontist, graduating with a North American D.D.S. before seeking specialty training will provide more freedom in the selection of your final destination. Endodontists trained outside North America seeking an academic career would benefit from training directly in a graduate endodontic program that accepts foreign dental degrees. If your goal is to pursue a full-time academic or research career, technically speaking, you do not need to acquire a U.S. D.D.S.
There are three basic requirements to obtain a dental license in the U.S.:
National Board Dental Examination, Parts I and II
Clinical Exam – WREBS, CREDTS, etc.
Most states require you to have a CODA-accredited dental degree. Some states, like Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin, will license individuals with foreign dental degrees if they have completed a U.S. advanced specialty training program. Some states require a two-year advanced specialty program, while others require a one-year advanced general dentistry program. So, it really depends on where you want to go, and you would need to research the requirements of that particular state. It’s also prudent to understand that the requirements change from time to time. Some states have the provision of licensing individuals with foreign dental degrees who have practiced for five or more years in another state in the U.S.
Immigration status plays a key role in your professional career. If you are a U.S. citizen or a U.S. resident, then all doors are open. But, if you are doing a residency program on a student visa (F-1) or a dependent visa (H-4), then your options are limited and you may have to jump through multiple hoops to realize your dream.
After graduating from a residency program on a student visa, you get a 12-month Optional Practical Training period during which you can practice, teach or do whatever you want related to endodontics. You can apply for the OPT through the university’s immigration office 90 days before your graduation date. You have the liberty to pick the start date of your 12-month OPT, within two months of your graduation date. This information becomes important when you are trying to maximize your stay in the U.S., so you have ample time at hand to figure out your future placement. You are not required to have a job offer at the time of OPT application. I would recommend using this 12-month period to identify a good employer who is willing to process your work visa (H-1B) at the completion of OPT. It is important that your employer is also willing to process your permanent residency (Green Card) application when you start working on an H-1B. It has become extremely challenging to obtain an H-1B visa in the past couple years and it’s projected to stay the same in the coming few years unless major changes are instituted.
On April 1 each year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services begins accepting applications for H-1B visas from potential employers offering private practice jobs. The annual quota (cap) for H-1B visas is 65,000 in the Regular category and another 20,000 visas in the Master’s exemption category (applicants with an advanced degree). In 2012 and 2013, the USCIS received more than 120,000 applications from April 1 to April 5. In such a scenario when USCIS receives more applications than the cap, they institute a lottery and the lucky people who are chosen receive H-1B visas. As an endodontist with an advanced degree, you’ll get two chances to be picked in the lottery; first in the Master’s exemption category and then in the Regular category. If you are granted an H-1B visa, you can begin working no sooner than October 1 of the same year. It is critical to keep track of your deadline dates and plan ahead of time.
All universities employing full-time faculty are exempt from the H-1B cap. This means that if you get hired by a university for a full-time position, you do not have to worry about the H-1B cap of 65,000 or 20,000. Also, unlike the private practice employers, universities can apply for work visas at any time of the year and are not required to submit the applications beginning April 1. Since the process is complex, it’s a good idea to seek professional help from immigration attorneys if you are planning to seek an H-1B visa for a private practice job.
Another option for seeking U.S. permanent residence is to explore the EB-5 Immigrant Investor category. Under this program, you need to invest $500,000 to $1 million and become eligible for a U.S. Green Card. Again, it’s a complex process and I would recommend consulting an immigration attorney specializing in Immigrant Investor visas.
By now you must have realized that you have multiple options if you are a U.S. citizen/resident and you have a CODA-accredited dental degree. You can start your own practice, become an associate, work as a faculty or join the U.S. Armed Forces. If you are doing your residency program on a student (F-1) visa, then your main options are either to obtain an H-1B visa under the cap in order to work as an associate or pursue an academic career. You cannot start your own practice or join the armed forces. Your options are further narrowed if you do not have a North American D.D.S.
I hope this information will be helpful in planning your future career moves. I would be happy to answer any questions and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.