I work as a public health dentist there’s the sense of reward for being able to help somebody else.
Good morning, Jody.
I was very impressed with Jose’s dedication to the mission. He was very focused on helping Native American individuals and his role as a commissioned officer in doing that versus just being a clinical dentist. He’s able to match a lot of those different things and put them all on the table and do very well at each of them.
Stay with the steel crown on that one.
Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that.
I’m presently stationed at Pine Ridge Indian Hospital which is located in the southwest corner of the State of South Dakota and it’s part of the Oglala Sioux Lakota Indian reservation.
The community I work with right now is considered on of the top four lowest income communities in the United States. If there wasn’t a public health dental clinic in their community, these members of the Indian reservation where I work will have to commute 50 miles or more to get to a private dentist in the area.
That’s one of our toughest duty stations. Pine Ridge is a very isolated and geographic location so that makes it a very difficult thing to get people to go there, but certainly to get people with families to go there.
Raising a family here has some unique challenges. You’re in a rural, small community and you have your basic needs. The kids see things on TV, a New York station, and they advertise shows and things like that and the kids say, “When are we going?” So that’s gets a little challenging for us. We don’t have those amenities. But the quality of life is a little more wholesome.
Every afternoon after I pick up the kids, the chores include taking care of the animals and the kids know that once we get home they got to give treats to the horses and feed the rabbits and check on the cat for water and food. Once we come home, open the door, they just run out of the car and that’s the first thing they do.
Look at the cat!
By Jose being in the Commissioned Corps—I’m a specialty nurse. I work in surgery and I’ve done open hearts, but my true passion is work at a level 2 trauma center. And by him being in the Commissioned Corps I can do that. He’s able to pick up the kids and I know he’s at home for them and he doesn’t get called out. So you can kind of follow your dreams.
This is [inaudible] reporting funnel clouds…
One of the opportunities I get is to be able to pursue one of my hobbies, amateur radio and weather spotting. I enjoy it a lot. I go out there in what people might consider to be a crazy environment. You know, it’s a thrill.
There’s a big need for dental care in places like Indian reservations where I work at. Things we see the most are the high levels of decay but it’s very challenging and rewarding to tackle these—the number of disease, the volume of it—and still make strides into conquering the amount of this disease.
Again, the Commissioned Corps excites you if you like consistent challenges put in front of you and you don’t want to just sit down and rest on your laurels of, “Well, I’ve done this. I’ve made this environment good. Now I’m going to stay here.” If you constantly want to have those challenges, this is a wonderful place to be.
A personal thing for me is seeing the patients when they get a filling in their front tooth repaired, or a cavity gets repaired up front and they smile again because you know when they walked in they were not smiling. And that smile, when I see their teeth in their smile, it’s just the biggest “thank you” you could get.