Friendship, leadership, passion in practice

Dental family: Drs. Alice Boghosian, left, Arda Paylan and Agata
Skiba smile at Dr. Skiba’s graduation from the University of Illinois
at Chicago College of Dentistry.

Dr. Alice Boghosian jokes that her dental practice is a factory for dental
students. The mentorship of Dr. Boghosian and her partner, Dr. John Hagopian, is what led Drs. Arda Paylan and Agata Skiba to apply to the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and ultimately move into practicing dentistry.

It was the influence of the two seasoned dentists in regard to organized dentistry that motivated Dr. Skiba to get involved. The 33-year-old has moved up the local ranks: She was installed as the president of the North Side Branch of the Chicago Dental Society April 29.

“Both Arda and Agata saw how involved myself and Dr. Hagopian were in organized dentistry and just the friendships that we’ve made and the enthusiasm and the passion for
leadership we’ve had that set an example for them to be able to say, ‘I want to be able to do this too,’” Dr. Boghosian said.

Dr. Skiba worked for Drs. Boghosian and Hagopian at the front desk and as a dental assistant since she was 20 years old. She credits them for always being there when she had questions on any subject, be it clinical or personal.

“It’s just a great asset to have a mentor,” says Dr. Skiba, who now practices at Norwood Park Dentistry on Chicago’s northwest side. “It really paves the way and makes that road (into dentistry) so much easier. You can always use somebody who has a lot more experience than you on your side. Your mentor has been there before and can really save you a lot of stress by being there to guide you.” Regarding work-life balance, she says she can reach out to Dr. Boghosian, as a mother, wife and a professional and ask questions like “How do you deal with having a family as well as working in dentistry and owning your own practice?”

Dr. Paylan, 31, knew Dr. Boghosian from church and started working with her when she was an undergrad at UIC. She was accepted into a program at UIC that guaranteed her admission into the dental school if she kept up a certain grade point average.

“I had absolutely no dental experience, but they just took me under their wings and taught me pretty much everything I needed to know to be an assistant,” said Dr. Paylan, who now practices in Houston. “They instilled in me that you have to do good by your patients. I owe a lot of my clinical choices to them.” And their “factory” keeps chugging along. Another dental assistant will attend dental school at UIC in the fall; one of the orthodontists Dr. Boghosian refers patients to has a son interested in dental school who is shadowing her; and one of her hygienist’s sons is also contemplating applying for dental school.

“It’s just so cool to see them grow and be able to do these things,” Dr. Boghosian said. “As important as the things we accomplish in these professional organizations are the lifelong friendships that you make.”

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