Pre-Health Handbook

On-Campus Organizations

Alumni Success Stories

Lisandro Maya-Ramos

Click here to read the story of alumnus Linsandro, who is a current medical student at UCSF: Link to the article.

Life After UCSD: Somos Hermanos

My name is Snow Feng. I'm a UCSD alumni co 2010. My senior year at UCSD, I received an email from HMP3 about USC's Somos Hermanos program. I wasn't so sure if the program was for me but applied anyway. I ended up getting waitlisted for the program for the following spring session after my June 2010 graduation date. After graduation, I quickly found a job at a biotech company but the economy was shaky at the time, and I was laid off. Needless to say, getting laid off was my first dose of "real life after college," and I was really, for lack of a better choice of word, bummed. Somehow a week after being laid off while I was trying to figure out what step to take next, I ended up hearing back from USC telling me they had a spot for me on Somos Hermanos.

I headed to Guatemala a few months later. The program was one of the most impactful experiences of my life, and was what I needed to affirm myself that I needed to apply to PA school, which is a decision I had been struggling with prior. The fact that my program of 13 had 3 UCSD alumni is a testament to how much you dedicate yourself to helping us as much as possible, even if all the contact we have with you is weekly emails. All 3 of us heard about the program though one of your emails I believe. I've attached a few photos, one is of a bunch of us horseback riding in Guatemala during Somos Hermanos. The three girls on the left are the 3 UCSD alumni I spoke of; Ashley Aylward, me, and Jessica Chan, all co 2010. Ashley is a 2nd year PA student at AT Still, and Jessica is a 2nd year MD student at Creighton. I just started my PA program in June at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). is the website for the program I believe, and I know Jessica blogged about her experience.

Mehria Sayad-Shah's Remarkable Journey

Once Mehria Sayad-Shah escaped the war-torn Afghanistan as a child, there was no looking back. As her family made temporary stops in Pakistan and Germany, Mehria started school at the age of 8. The late start did not deter her, however, as Mehria came to UCSD and earned a Bachelors Degree in biomedical engineering. Follow Dr. Sayad-Shah's trip from rockets and war to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health here!!

From Rags to Riches: A HMP3 Alumni Success Story

Mohamud Qadi started with nothing and is now where most of us can only hope to be in the near future. This inspirational young man started his journey in Somalia as one of eleven children and is now set to attend Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Fall 2012. Once his family moved to California, he had to take on various jobs in order to help support his family. Follow his whole story here!

The Road to Dentistry

Dentistry is always on the move--it's a field becoming more technologically advanced and also developing deeper ties to medicine. When I first became interested in dentistry, I was drawn to the field for reasons familiar to any pre-dental student. I loved the art and science combination, the "bread and butter" procedures, and doctor to patient interactions. I still am very much excited about dentistry for all these reasons, but I came to realize during dental school that these reasons have much more depth than I ever imagined.

The art and science aspect of dentistry now features CAD-CAM technology, an advancement similar to 3D printing. Patient care is trending towards a patient receiving his crown in the same appointment. It took time to get used to taking digital impressions with the intra-oral camera and designing the porcelain crown through a software in-office, but with these tools, I experienced firsthand how a dentist can fabricate the crown and have it made for a patient in just a few hours.

"Bread and butter" dentistry is no longer limited to fillings, crown/bridge, and extractions. More complicated root canals and some implant cases are now part of a general dentist's skill set. In my last year I was able to deliver an implant crown on a front tooth (that was previously extracted) and porcelain crown on the adjacent tooth, both at the same time. I also performed minor gum surgeries (such as crown lengthening) on patients. Of course, some treatments are best referred to a specialist, but with proper education and case selection, a general dentist can be successful with expanding his scope of procedures.

Patient to dentist interaction is still as vital to a patient's experience as ever, but it is more than just "small talk". Obtaining and evaluating a patient's medical history is extremely important. For example, certain local anesthetics (or a specific dose) cannot be administered to patients with heart disease. Consultation with a patient's physician for premedication with antibiotics may be necessary before dental treatments. Emergencies such as severe allergic reactions may also happen in the dental chair, and a dentist needs to respond with appropriate action. For patients with special needs and involved treatments, sedation may be an option. I have started IVs and administered medications through IVs on patients who need sedation. I have also provided dental treatments for many patients with special needs while they were under general anesthesia (monitored by a dental anesthesiologist).

For pre-dental students who are excited about dentistry, you will not be disappointed when you enter the clinic! These are just some of my experiences in dental school that you can look forward to experiencing as well. There is so much to learn and so many advancements in the field to create better experiences for our patients. Dentistry is always on the move, and to be successful, you must keep learning. After all, it does take "tooth to tango". For more, please "like" my page at or send me a message.

James Lin, DMD
HMP3 Outreach Chair 2007-2010
UCSD c/o 2010