The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.
Who are you? I’m Dr. Ben Youel. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2013 of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, and I just started a twelve-month General Practice Residency (GPR) at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.
If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? High school Chemistry teacher and wrestling coach. Both my parents are teachers so I respect the profession and I know teachers make a lasting impact on the lives of their students. Plus, I’d have the chance to coach wrestling; a sport that was very rewarding for me to participate in growing up.
Why did you choose to do a GPR? I like doing everything! I expect my GPR year to be a great chance to broaden the range of services that I can provide my patients and define my comfort zone for clinical practice.
Biggest surprise so far about your program? I just started, so I’ll say the volume of information in orientation week about the inner-workings of a hospital and the department of dentistry’s role in this setting.
So far it has been a bit more intense than I thought it would be. We get started rather early in the morning and we tend to wrap up later than we did in dental school. So they’re really throwing us into the fire right away here!
What’s your schedule like? Our hours are usually from 7 or 8am to 5 or 6pm, Monday through Friday. One or two weeks a month I’ll be on call. This means I can get called into the hospital to handle a dental emergency any time on any day (and weekends after midnight are the most popular times for people to stroll in with an avulsed tooth or mandibular fracture).
What are you doing for fun? I enjoy working out each day after clinic. I also play in a beach volleyball league each Monday evening.
Any advice for someone considering a GPR? No two GPRs are alike so ask former and current residents what they think. The residents tend to be the best at describing the strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies of the residency.
What are your plans after you complete this program? My short term plans are a little up in the air. I’ve lived in Illinois most of my life and so I have some interest in moving out of state. Also, I’ve worked in a number of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and have enjoyed those experiences. So right now I’m strongly considering moving west and spending a few years working in public health.
Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.