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Ethnicity and Dentistry?????

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by freedyx3, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. freedyx3

    freedyx3 I'm Columbian
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    Hi all

    Here is a question I've NEVER really seen mentioned or discussed before that I really want some insight on......

    From all my personal experience with dentists it seems that there is a huge segragation between dentists of different ethnicities particularly Asians and Caucasions. I mean the only place where I"ve EVER seen an Asian dentist is in Chinatown or in areas where there is a huge asian population, and it appears to me that these asian dentists will treat mostly asian patients.

    SOO basically I'm wondering if this is the norm, that Asian dentists are limited to work with asian patients. I'm myself asian and I def would hate picture myself in the future limited to who i can care for. Does there exist this mentality or bias amongst dentists where dentists of one ethnicty will prefer hiring new associates of the same ethnicity fearing that hiring a dentist of another ethnicity would hurt business? WHen i try to join a practice in the future will i lose certain opportunities because of my race? I know that not all dentists will have this mentality but I'm wondering if this type of bias exists, and how common is it?


    maybe this question is directed to dentists who have been practiciing and have seen the ropes...


    thanks for any inputs :clap:
     
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  3. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Yes there is some sort of segregation between dentists and dental school knows this. However, there are a ton of asian dental applicants. I would believe over half of the applicants are asian. Not all of them will go and work in chinatown. However, race does determine what type of people you might treat. That is why there is a huge need in the african american, native american, and latino populations for those dentists who can contribute to the undeserved population. For example, AZ opened up its school specifically for getting Tribal indians to apply so they can go back to their communites and help out. So I guess, dental schools do look for people who would go back and help certain communites out since they belong to that community as well. Hope this makes things a little clearer.

    DesiDentist
     
  4. UBTom

    UBTom Class '04 official geezer
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    I think there are several factors at work here.

    Thing is, Asian Americans are a very small minority here in the U.S., and only recently has their population began to expand at a faster rate. In the near future we should see more dentists of Asian descent going into the communities.

    Also, it is rare for new dentists to go directly into setting up their own practice right after graduation-- New dentists usually work as associates with established practices and try to buy into one. Perhaps this is why all the newly-minted dentists of Asian descent are not readily visible, simply because very few have their own practices as of yet.

    Lastly, it might also depend on the particular locale. In my hometown, New York City, (probably the most ethnically-diverse city in the U.S. if not the world), dentists of Asian descent in private practice are not all that uncommon.

    Give it a decade or two and I think things can look real different.
    :clap:
     
  5. nycdoc

    nycdoc Senior Member
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    I don't think that your ethnicity is going to prevent you from being successful in this profession....so don't even start to plant that seed in your mind.
    If I get the gist of your post correctly, I think you're worried that you're entering some exclusive club for upper-middle class white America where you'll be at an immediate disadvantage in getting the ideal practice because you're Asian. Maybe you think that in some parts of the US, you'll be entering a world of country clubs and fratboy mentality where you'll be at a disadvantage because of your looks and ethnicity (right?).

    Well that might be true in some places. Asians and other minorities aren't the only ones with this concern. Women and students from lower economic classes are worried about the exact same thing. But let me assure you that you have a better chance at succeeding in this profession than any other IMO. It's because of the nature of the job: Dentistry is a skill, a trade. If you have a great chairside manner, are honest, and have amazing clinical skills, your patients will stay loyal to you. Your success is dependent on YOU. If your production numbers are amazing, there is no reason you won't advance/ make partner. If not, you can always walk and go somewhere else where you'll be appreciated. Your numbers will back you up.

    Thank your lucky stars that you're going into dentistry and not into a corporate environment. I know from experience. In the corporate world, a large part of your success is determined by office politics, your looks and how much ass you kiss. Just keep the focus on becoming a competent professional. If you're good at your job, everything else falls into place.


    By the way, I know for a fact that asians can be found in the 'top' practices. Several dentists who are successful on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (predominantly white upper upper class area) are Asians. I think that if you're in any major city/nearby suburbs, the 'good' stereotypes about asians will work in your favor. You'll be perceived as honest, hard-working and smart.
    You may have trouble in rural America but who the f#@ wants to live there anyways?:D
     
  6. freedyx3

    freedyx3 I'm Columbian
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    Thanks for all your input and shedding some light on this subject....


    But can someone answer me the question of whether i would have difficulty joining a practice after grad because of my race. I almost feel like certain pracitices that are owned by caucasion dentists will be unwilling to hire me as an associate because they want only caucasion associates. Am I at fault thinking this way??? I mean if it came down to it between me and another caucasion dentist who has the same credentials as me, is it more likely that the caucasion dentist will get the job at an all caucasion practice? I know that thinking this way only adds fuel to the fire, but i can't help but feel like this will be the case when i grad.


    thanks
     
  7. RSXer

    RSXer :) UoMBCDSCo07 :)
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    Yes I believe its true that there are some cases where ethnicity unfairly plays a role in securing a position as a dentist in a private practice.

    Is the field of dentistry the only field where this happens? No.

    Does this occur to a larger extent in the field of dentistry compared to other occupations? I highly doubt it.

    The bottom line is that in a perfect world, a person will not be given/refused a job because of their race. We're not in a perfect world though, and we have to accept that. Does this mean that you should be soured to dentistry because this happens? Heck no. If anything, use it as more motivation to achieve your goal to become a dentist. That's what I'm doing :p
     
  8. smile_doctor

    smile_doctor Senior Member
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    Fred:

    Your race may actually be an advantage for you in securing a position as an associate dentist. While we all know that not EVERY practice would hire you, we can surmise that the SMART ones will at least consider you. Think of it this way: good business sense would tell the hiring dentist that he/she could attract a more diverse patient pool to their practice by having a more diverse staff. In short, the practice may attract Asian or other non-caucasian patients that might not otherwise consider the practice for their oral health care.;)
     
  9. tj_lee

    tj_lee Member
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    well....

    I'm chinese and unfortunately I don't know my native language...urgh. but that's okay; I think charm and charisma go a long way.


    on the asian note, I'm not as worried about my race as much as I'm worried about my friend who is Indian (that's asian indian). I have only met 1 indian dentist in all of my experience (working in a dental school in the alumni office). He is applying coming up next yr. and I'm worried that the welcome would be different.

    terry
     
  10. freedyx3

    freedyx3 I'm Columbian
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    Hey tj

    You konw we're prob in the same boat, as I think we'd be both somewhat more comfortable caring for patients who we can speak english to.

    And about your Indian friend, def tell him or her not to worry as I'ver certainly seen my fair share of Indian dentists. My own dentist is Indian and the place where i volunteer at there are two indian dentists...
     
  11. Frank Cavitation

    Frank Cavitation Game Center Arashi
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    if you're chinese and you don't identify well with orientals
    maybe it would help to be in a practice where the local community
    is mostly non-chinese, and have caucasian receptionists. That
    way patients won't feel like you have a "ethnic" practice and
    orientals are (subtly) discouraged from coming if they have a
    language barrier with the staff. I don't think it's racist; if you
    are uncomfortable with the chinese way of doing business
    there are plenty of other fish in the ocean.
     
  12. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe Senior Member
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    if a dentist choose not to hire you base on race, that's called racial discrimination. I say sue them for some money to pay off dental schoo, and then look elsewhere!
     
  13. freedyx3

    freedyx3 I'm Columbian
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    Hi

    I think I'd be pretty hard to sue a private practice considering that the dentist could make up countless reasons why she or he didn't hire you, and there's relaly no way to prove anything. Plus i think certain dentists will refuse to hire mainly because they feel it might hurt business especially in rural areas.
     
  14. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe Senior Member
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    Sueing for racial discrimination happens all the time, although most the time it never reaches the actual court. Many being sued will probably settle because they fear negative publicity.
    Regardless, I think most dentist are more racially enlightened, besides almost half of their classmates are asian in most dental schools.
     
  15. Frank Cavitation

    Frank Cavitation Game Center Arashi
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    there are always plenty of reasons for not hiring someone. If you
    don't advertise in a chinese-language newspaper then chances are that the people who apply for reception/assistant jobs will have a racial breakdown which mirrors the local population. While race itself can't be the reason for not hiring someone, a strong accent ought to have some bearing. If the assistant is trying to calm the patient but can't properly do so due to a language barrier then that is certainly something to think about.

    another thing, I think Americans are much more likely to sue for anything, which is why malpractice insurance premiums are allegedly very high over there :)
     
  16. tj_lee

    tj_lee Member
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    Personally,

    I plan to hire a multicultural staff while hiring more whites than any other particular ethnic. why?

    b/c people naturally like to see white people working....
    people want it that way.

    And yes, I do plan to NOT target asians, but will rely on word of mouth. I would like to be a good dentist, who is also asian.

    terry
     
  17. nycdoc

    nycdoc Senior Member
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    Why don't you just look to hire people who do their jobs competently? This is racism too. I want someone to hire me because I'm good at what I do, not because you're trying to create a 'multicultural dental experience'.
     
  18. freedyx3

    freedyx3 I'm Columbian
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    I personally think that all this discrimination is rooted in the belief that since the majority of patients are indeed caucasion, they will rather see and work with other caucasions because they feel more comfortable. I think that this is true to a certain extent especially in rural areas where people have not been exposed to different cultures.

    I do think that if you were to open with a practice with all employees of one race, this will discourge certain people of the other races from coming. This is not to say that everyone will feel tihs way, but I know for a fact that some if not many have this mind set when it comes to health care. I hate to admit it but I think its true. :( And since we as dentists want to serve our patients and make them the happiest, many dentists are more likely to hire employees of a certain race, the race who they feel like the majority of the patients are.
     
  19. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Okay here,

    Let's do this:

    When I graduate I want to create a dental 'empire.' that will cater to my patients to the best of my abilities. The main qualities I will look for in order of importance are:

    1.) charm and ability to handle people
    2.)Trust
    3.) Proficiency at what they do
    4.) ability to communicate effectively with patients
    5.) open minded, knowledge of acceptance of other cultures etc.
    6.) Proficiency in languages, this is extremely important to my "dental empire" because many people who are getting bad tooth problems are the immigrant population. I myself know 5 fluently, currently working on my sixth: Persian.

    Okay, now

    In my practice I plan to hire

    1.) a couple of caucasion people (ItsGavinC and his brothers.)
    2.) a couple of asian people (YAH-E, Bres, freedyx3, cusp of carabelli)
    3.) Indian, that would be me, of course (DesiDentist, Viraj, simseema. etc)
    4.) Arab, fluent in Arabic (ALI, pkstni)
    5.) Hispanic (Juan)


    So all of these people will and can make my practice or I should say dental empire the most diverse in the USA....hahahahahahhooohhohohohohoooohohohoh.

    j/k

    DesiDentist

    Racism is all in your head, I believe the more you ponder about this issue the more it will bother you. When the time comes then you can deal with it. If no one hires you, heck that would never be the case, buy your own practice.
     
  20. Viraj

    Viraj Senior Member
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    Amen! DesiDentist
    I am with u on this project....
    Viraj
     
  21. Qoo

    Qoo Senior Member
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    this sounds interesting, can i join too??? :D

    ~Qoo
     
  22. Centrum

    Centrum SMILEY KING
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    I can't be one of the caucasians in your practice Desi? [​IMG]
     
  23. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Qoo and Centrum, you are welcome to join my dental empire.

    DesiDentist
     
  24. Centrum

    Centrum SMILEY KING
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  25. portlander

    portlander Member
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    Desi!

    I'm an Arab too!!

    ALI and pkstni, where are you from? Do you have a Tayta and a Cido? My mother was born in Ramala, but moved post-occupation, and all of my relatives still in the middle east are in Jordan.
     
  26. bres

    bres Member
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    I am in~~ Desidentist. If I can get into dental school~~
     
  27. vixen

    vixen I like members
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    tj, sounds like you have some issues dude.
     
  28. tj_lee

    tj_lee Member
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    for all of you people, who agree with me...thanks.

    for all of you who don't, give me a better solution.
    stop being cynical. Gain some empathy and just for once try to understand what its like to be a minority.

    have you ever stepped into a restaurant with no one of the same skin color as you? did it make you feel ackward and wonder if you'll ever come back? did you change your attitude or behavior?


    hmmm... maybe that's something i'm trying to prevent.
    maybe it makes business sense to understand that dentistry is all about making people feel comfortable.

    terry
     
  29. DesiDentist

    DesiDentist G. S. Khurana, DMD, MBA
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    Actually, I never notice. I think prejudice and racism still exist today because people notice. Notice little children when they are growing up they play with everyone no matter what color they are, it is until people stuff their heads with crap, then they start distinguishing who is different. To a little child all people are equal. I understand in order to better serve your patients you want to hire primarily caucasion, that is all up to you and there is nothing wrong with that. But honestly, I work in a dental clinic which caters to primarily caucausian patients, the dentist is Japanese and I am Indian, patients wonder where I am from. My ethnicity helps people start a conversation. I think racism/prejudice/segregation will continue until people finally understand it isn't the color of the person, but how they treat you. I guess a few people ideals will affect everyone.

    Just my thoughts,

    DesiDentist
     

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