He was a dentist in Afghanistan. Today, he’s filling a gap in the Fox Valley’s dental health workforce

ByAlyson R. Briggs

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Dental assistant Mohammad Azimy, left, works with Dr. Heather Hassell on a patient's May 25 at Partnership Community Health Center in Grand Chute. Azimy ran his own dental clinic in Kabul before evacuating Afghanistan and moving to the Fox Cities last winter.

Dental assistant Mohammad Azimy, still left, will work with Dr. Heather Hassell on a patient’s Could 25 at Partnership Community Overall health Middle in Grand Chute. Azimy ran his very own dental clinic in Kabul just before evacuating Afghanistan and transferring to the Fox Towns last winter season.

Getting a dentist in Kabul held Mohammad Azimy hectic.

In addition to managing his possess clinic in Afghanistan’s capital town, he also provided dental solutions at a regional medical center and trained dental college students at a university. He frequently worked right up until 8 or 9 p.m.

It all disappeared in a issue of days final August as the Taliban took the nation around and he and his wife and child ended up forced to flee.

It was apparent a thing was wrong the morning of Aug. 15, Azimy remembered, but he still headed to work at the medical center like typical. When he arrived, he explained he observed men and women managing absent, afraid. Police had deserted their weapons in the streets and were staying taken away by taxi.

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Afterwards that day, he uncovered the Afghan governing administration experienced collapsed and the Taliban experienced captured a village about 10 miles away from his dwelling. He and his spouse, who labored for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, commenced thinking about a way out.

Azimy and his spouse and children are among approximately 200 Afghan evacuees who have settled in the Fox Valley. Approximately nine months right after he experienced to go away residence, his skills are filling a hole in dental overall health treatment in Appleton and further than.

As he prepares to turn into certified for his dentist’s license in the U.S. — a process that can take two or a few several years — Azimy is performing as a dental assistant for Partnership Local community Wellness Centre, which has dentists’ offices in Grand Chute, Oshkosh and Waupaca.

1 of several dental clinics in the location that accepts Medicaid, they serve about 6,500 patients for each calendar year, reported CEO Kristene Stacker. Numerous of those clients have complicated dental requirements because they haven’t previously been able to find the money for care.

Locally, Partnership has been facing a lack of dental assistants, who enjoy a essential role building positive the affected person is cozy, taking X-rays, having equipment completely ready for the dentist and discharging the client at the time the appointment is over.

For the reason that a dentist are not able to work without an assistant, Stacker claimed the shortage compelled them to lower the selection of appointments they could give for each working day in 50 %.

Azimy and a handful of other Afghan evacuees are having portion in a teaching method Partnership workers created that they hope will both of those resolve their workforce challenges and deliver meaningful employment for individuals who need to have it.

A tough journey ends with a steady occupation and a harmless position to call home

As soon as Azimy and his spouse understood the Taliban were being close to Kabul very last summer months, they tried out to ruin any paperwork linking them to the U.S. authorities. He recalled operating papers underneath water in the sink rather of burning them to stay away from smoke that would lead to their neighbors to request queries.

A couple of days later, they have been informed they could appear to the airport to capture a flight out of Afghanistan. But when they tried out, Azimy mentioned, so a lot of individuals crowded the airport that no a person could get within. They returned residence.

A different several days passed and they acquired a next message from the Embassy. If they could get to the airport, they’d be evacuated, it stated if they selected to continue to be, the Embassy could no for a longer time assistance them.

Mohammad Azimy is a dental assistant at Partnership Community Health Center. He is pictured here May 25 at the dental clinic in Grand Chute.

Mohammad Azimy is a dental assistant at Partnership Local community Overall health Middle. He is pictured here Could 25 at the dental clinic in Grand Chute.

Their 2nd excursion was profitable and they boarded a airplane to Germany, and about a week later, to The united states. A working day after they remaining, the airport was bombed, killing additional than 180 people today.

Azimy and his household invested about 3 months at Fort McCoy, a armed service foundation concerning Tomah and Sparta that housed hundreds of Afghan evacuees right before they have been resettled across Wisconsin. He known as the foundation “a tricky put,” but mentioned military associates who staffed it were undertaking their most effective to deliver care.

They moved to Menasha in December, and he tried out to protected a occupation as a dentist just before finding out that his license from Afghanistan would not allow for him to exercise in the U.S.

He was also getting lessons at Fox Valley Technical University, where he appeared in a Television news section that caught Stacker’s eye when he stated he was a dentist.

Azimy’s employment at Partnership as a result of the dental assistant education application fell into location in small purchase. And it was just in time, far too — he was about to give up his research for a position in his industry and commence doing the job at a manufacturing facility.

“I truly was content,” he mentioned of the Partnership provide.

Dental assistants in substantial desire

Many overall health care fields are experiencing workforce worries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the scarcity of dental assistants has been making for about six decades, claimed Maria Jacobson, Partnership’s human methods coordinator.

They’re not certain what the root of the issue is, but its affect is very clear: private apply, general public health and company dentistry applications are all competing for the identical shrinking pool of dental assistants. At Fox Valley Tech, for illustration, there are just 8 freshmen in its dental assistant program, Jacobson explained.

Dental assistants rank amid Wisconsin’s hottest work opportunities in a record compiled by the Department of Workforce Enhancement of occupations with the greatest projected progress.

Partnership experienced been building an in-dwelling education application for the place considering the fact that past 12 months, but it picked up speed about four months in the past when they hired a full-time coach. Of the 30 dental assistants on personnel at Partnership, almost half have absent through the schooling program, Jacobson said.

Trainees get paid out while they finish the system. Azimy invested four months in Oshkosh to start with and is finishing up observations at the Grand Chute clinic before he’ll begin operating with sufferers.

Mainly because most of the gear he used for his apply in Kabul was designed in the U.S., there wasn’t as well a great deal new to understand, he explained, other than for the ins and outs of Dentrix, an digital scheduling and client treatment management application.

Moreover Azimy, a 2nd Afghan evacuee is presently element of the software and two far more are established to start off soon, Jacobson claimed. One, like Azimy, had been a dentist in Afghanistan, and one more had nearly concluded dental college when the Taliban took in excess of.

There are others who obtained their dental qualifications in other countries in the program way too, Stacker claimed. It ties into the organization’s mission.

“We sense that our capability to seek the services of and educate and assist not only Afghan evacuees but other foreign-skilled pros, as properly as citizens, is producing a healthy community by supplying them the chance to discover a ability that can come to be a vocation for them,” she claimed.

Of program, it was now a job for Azimy — one particular he hopes to return to as shortly as attainable.

He submitted purposes previous 7 days for three dental educational facilities: one in Boston and a person in Chicago, as nicely as Marquette College in Milwaukee. He’ll also have to move the nationwide board examination for dentistry, for which he explained he is started learning.

In the meantime, nevertheless, he explained settling into existence in Wisconsin has been going well. He credited Excellent Neighbor Teams, a system from World Relief Fox Valley that recruits local church associates to welcome refugees.

“We have in no way felt that we are missing a thing,” Azimy reported. “It can be because of the fantastic people of Wisconsin, I assume.”

Get hold of reporter Madeline Heim at 920-996-7266 or [email protected]. Stick to her on Twitter at @madeline_heim

This report at first appeared on Appleton Write-up-Crescent: Afghan evacuees filling gaps in Fox Valley dental health workforce


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