He was a dentist in Afghanistan. Today, he’s filling a gap in the Fox Valley’s dental health workforce


Dental assistant Mohammad Azimy, left, works with Dr. Heather Hassell on a patient's May 25 at Partnership Community Health Center in Grand Chute. Azimy ran his own dental clinic in Kabul before evacuating Afghanistan and moving to the Fox Cities last winter.

Dental assistant Mohammad Azimy, left, will work with Dr. Heather Hassell on a patient’s May possibly 25 at Partnership Local community Health Heart in Grand Chute. Azimy ran his have dental clinic in Kabul just before evacuating Afghanistan and shifting to the Fox Metropolitan areas previous wintertime.

Getting a dentist in Kabul stored Mohammad Azimy chaotic.

In addition to operating his have clinic in Afghanistan’s cash city, he also delivered dental providers at a neighborhood hospital and skilled dental college students at a college. He generally worked until eventually 8 or 9 p.m.

It all disappeared in a subject of days very last August as the Taliban took the region in excess of and he and his wife and little one ended up pressured to flee.

It was clear anything was wrong the morning of Aug. 15, Azimy remembered, but he even now headed to get the job done at the medical center like usual. When he arrived, he claimed he saw people today operating absent, afraid. Police had deserted their weapons in the streets and were being taken away by taxi.

Related: 180 Afghan evacuees have moved to the Fox Valley. This is what comes future for them.

Associated: Church volunteer teams welcome refugees as past of 200 Afghan evacuees arrive in the Fox Valley

Later that working day, he figured out the Afghan governing administration experienced collapsed and the Taliban had captured a village about 10 miles absent from his residence. He and his wife, who worked for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, commenced thinking about a way out.

Azimy and his spouse and children are among the approximately 200 Afghan evacuees who have settled in the Fox Valley. Almost 9 months right after he experienced to leave household, his skills are filling a gap in dental wellbeing care in Appleton and outside of.

As he prepares to develop into qualified for his dentist’s license in the U.S. — a process that can consider two or three several years — Azimy is working as a dental assistant for Partnership Local community Health Middle, which has dentists’ offices in Grand Chute, Oshkosh and Waupaca.

Just one of few dental clinics in the spot that accepts Medicaid, they serve about 6,500 clients for every yr, reported CEO Kristene Stacker. Lots of of these patients have elaborate dental desires for the reason that they haven’t formerly been ready to manage treatment.

Locally, Partnership has been struggling with a lack of dental assistants, who participate in a critical job making sure the client is at ease, using X-rays, having instruments prepared for the dentist and discharging the affected individual once the appointment is in excess of.

For the reason that a dentist are unable to operate with out an assistant, Stacker reported the shortage pressured them to reduce the range of appointments they could offer for every day in 50 %.

Azimy and a handful of other Afghan evacuees are having section in a training plan Partnership personnel created that they hope will both equally solve their workforce difficulties and present significant positions for people today who need it.

A tough journey finishes with a steady position and a protected put to contact residence

Once Azimy and his spouse understood the Taliban were being close to Kabul past summer time, they experimented with to ruin any files linking them to the U.S. federal government. He recalled jogging papers less than drinking water in the sink rather of burning them to prevent smoke that would lead to their neighbors to talk to inquiries.

A couple of times later, they had been instructed they could appear to the airport to capture a flight out of Afghanistan. But when they tried, Azimy reported, so lots of men and women crowded the airport that no one could get inside of. They returned property.

Another handful of days handed and they obtained a 2nd information from the Embassy. If they could get to the airport, they’d be evacuated, it reported if they chose to stay, the Embassy could no extended assistance them.

Mohammad Azimy is a dental assistant at Partnership Community Health Center. He is pictured here May 25 at the dental clinic in Grand Chute.

Mohammad Azimy is a dental assistant at Partnership Neighborhood Well being Center. He is pictured in this article Might 25 at the dental clinic in Grand Chute.

Their 2nd vacation was profitable and they boarded a plane to Germany, and about a week afterwards, to The usa. A working day following they still left, the airport was bombed, killing more than 180 people.

Azimy and his loved ones invested about three months at Fort McCoy, a military services base in between Tomah and Sparta that housed hundreds of Afghan evacuees just before they were being resettled throughout Wisconsin. He called the base “a complicated place,” but mentioned armed forces users who staffed it were being carrying out their finest to give treatment.

They moved to Menasha in December, and he attempted to secure a work as a dentist just before studying that his license from Afghanistan wouldn’t allow for him to exercise in the U.S.

He was also taking lessons at Fox Valley Specialized School, exactly where he appeared in a Television set information segment that caught Stacker’s eye when he pointed out he was a dentist.

Azimy’s employment at Partnership by way of the dental assistant coaching program fell into area in small purchase. And it was just in time, too — he was about to give up his search for a occupation in his area and get started performing at a manufacturing facility.

“I truly was pleased,” he stated of the Partnership offer you.

Dental assistants in higher desire

A lot of health treatment fields are experiencing workforce challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the shortage of dental assistants has been setting up for about 6 a long time, said Maria Jacobson, Partnership’s human resources coordinator.

They’re not guaranteed what the root of the issue is, but its effect is distinct: personal exercise, general public health and fitness and corporate dentistry applications are all competing for the similar shrinking pool of dental assistants. At Fox Valley Tech, for instance, there are just eight freshmen in its dental assistant application, Jacobson reported.

Dental assistants rank amid Wisconsin’s most popular work in a listing compiled by the Office of Workforce Development of occupations with the greatest projected growth.

Partnership experienced been building an in-home training plan for the placement given that very last 12 months, but it picked up pace about 4 months in the past when they hired a entire-time trainer. Of the 30 dental assistants on staff at Partnership, virtually fifty percent have long gone as a result of the education program, Jacobson stated.

Trainees get paid out though they total the program. Azimy put in 4 weeks in Oshkosh to start with and is finishing up observations at the Grand Chute clinic just before he’ll get started doing the job with individuals.

Simply because most of the equipment he utilized for his observe in Kabul was created in the U.S., there was not as well much new to discover, he mentioned, except for the ins and outs of Dentrix, an digital scheduling and patient treatment management system.

Aside from Azimy, a 2nd Afghan evacuee is already component of the application and two additional are established to start off shortly, Jacobson stated. A single, like Azimy, experienced been a dentist in Afghanistan, and one more had nearly finished dental university when the Taliban took above.

There are some others who been given their dental qualifications in other international locations in the software too, Stacker claimed. It ties into the organization’s mission.

“We truly feel that our capability to seek the services of and coach and help not only Afghan evacuees but other international-experienced gurus, as properly as citizens, is making a healthful neighborhood by giving them the possibility to learn a ability that can turn out to be a career for them,” she mentioned.

Of program, it was previously a career for Azimy — a single he hopes to return to as quickly as probable.

He submitted purposes previous 7 days for three dental faculties: a person in Boston and one in Chicago, as very well as Marquette University in Milwaukee. He’ll also have to move the national board test for dentistry, for which he mentioned he is started learning.

In the meantime, nevertheless, he reported settling into daily life in Wisconsin has been likely nicely. He credited Excellent Neighbor Teams, a system from Earth Relief Fox Valley that recruits neighborhood church members to welcome refugees.

“We have hardly ever felt that we are missing a little something,” Azimy stated. “It really is simply because of the very good individuals of Wisconsin, I believe.”

Contact reporter Madeline Heim at 920-996-7266 or [email protected]. Abide by her on Twitter at @madeline_heim

This post initially appeared on Appleton Write-up-Crescent: Afghan evacuees filling gaps in Fox Valley dental well being workforce


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