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He was a dentist in Afghanistan. In the present day, he is filling a niche within the Fox Valley’s dental well being workforce

He was a dentist in Afghanistan. In the present day, he is filling a niche within the Fox Valley’s dental well being workforce

Dental assistant Mohammad Azimy, left, works with Dr. Heather Hassell on a affected person’s Could 25 at Partnership Group Well being Heart in Grand Chute. Azimy ran his personal dental clinic in Kabul earlier than evacuating Afghanistan and transferring to the Fox Cities final winter.

Being a dentist in Kabul stored Mohammad Azimy busy.

Along with operating his personal clinic in Afghanistan’s capital metropolis, he additionally offered dental providers at an area hospital and educated dental college students at a college. He usually labored till 8 or 9 p.m.

All of it disappeared in a matter of days final August because the Taliban took the nation over and he and his spouse and youngster have been pressured to flee.

It was clear one thing was improper the morning of Aug. 15, Azimy remembered, however he nonetheless headed to work on the hospital like regular. When he arrived, he mentioned he noticed folks operating away, scared. Police had deserted their weapons within the streets and have been being taken away by taxi.

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Later that day, he discovered the Afghan authorities had collapsed and the Taliban had captured a village about 10 miles away from his house. He and his spouse, who labored for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, started occupied with a means out.

Azimy and his household are amongst almost 200 Afghan evacuees who’ve settled within the Fox Valley. Almost 9 months after he needed to depart house, his expertise are filling a niche in dental well being care in Appleton and past.

As he prepares to change into certified for his dentist’s license within the U.S. — a course of that may take two or three years — Azimy is working as a dental assistant for Partnership Group Well being Heart, which has dentists’ places of work in Grand Chute, Oshkosh and Waupaca.

One in every of few dental clinics within the space that accepts Medicaid, they serve about 6,500 sufferers per yr, mentioned CEO Kristene Stacker. A lot of these sufferers have complicated dental wants as a result of they have not beforehand been capable of afford care.

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Domestically, Partnership has been going through a scarcity of dental assistants, who play a crucial position ensuring the affected person is comfy, taking X-rays, getting instruments prepared for the dentist and discharging the affected person as soon as the appointment is over.

As a result of a dentist cannot work with out an assistant, Stacker mentioned the scarcity pressured them to chop the variety of appointments they may provide per day in half.

Azimy and a handful of different Afghan evacuees are participating in a coaching program Partnership workers developed that they hope will each remedy their workforce issues and supply significant jobs for individuals who want it.

A tough journey ends with a steady job and a protected place to name house

As soon as Azimy and his spouse knew the Taliban have been near Kabul final summer time, they tried to destroy any paperwork linking them to the U.S. authorities. He recalled operating papers underneath water within the sink as a substitute of burning them to keep away from smoke that will trigger their neighbors to ask questions.

A couple of days later, they have been instructed they may come to the airport to catch a flight out of Afghanistan. However once they tried, Azimy mentioned, so many individuals crowded the airport that nobody might get inside. They returned house.

One other few days handed and so they acquired a second message from the Embassy. If they may get to the airport, they’d be evacuated, it mentioned; in the event that they selected to remain, the Embassy might not assist 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 Group Well being Heart. He’s pictured right here Could 25 on the dental clinic in Grand Chute.

Their second journey was profitable and so they boarded a aircraft to Germany, and a couple of week later, to America. A day after they left, the airport was bombed, killing greater than 180 folks.

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Azimy and his household spent about three months at Fort McCoy, a army base between Tomah and Sparta that housed hundreds of Afghan evacuees earlier than they have been resettled throughout Wisconsin. He referred to as the bottom “a tough place,” however mentioned army members who staffed it have been doing their greatest to offer care.

They moved to Menasha in December, and he tried to safe a job as a dentist earlier than studying that his license from Afghanistan would not permit him to observe within the U.S.

He was additionally taking courses at Fox Valley Technical Faculty, the place he appeared in a TV information section that caught Stacker’s eye when he talked about he was a dentist.

Azimy’s employment at Partnership by the dental assistant coaching program fell into place briefly order. And it was simply in time, too — he was about to surrender his seek for a job in his discipline and begin working at a manufacturing unit.

“I actually was comfortable,” he mentioned of the Partnership provide.

Dental assistants in excessive demand

Many well being care fields are going through workforce challenges within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, however the scarcity of dental assistants has been constructing for about six years, mentioned Maria Jacobson, Partnership’s human assets coordinator.

They don’t seem to be certain what the foundation of the difficulty is, however its impression is evident: non-public observe, public well being and company dentistry packages are all competing for a similar shrinking pool of dental assistants. At Fox Valley Tech, for instance, there are simply eight freshmen in its dental assistant program, Jacobson mentioned.

Dental assistants rank amongst Wisconsin’s hottest jobs in an inventory compiled by the Division of Workforce Growth of occupations with the very best projected development.

Partnership had been creating an in-house coaching program for the place since final yr, but it surely picked up velocity about 4 months in the past once they employed a full-time coach. Of the 30 dental assistants on workers at Partnership, almost half have gone by the coaching program, Jacobson mentioned.

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Trainees receives a commission whereas they full this system. Azimy spent 4 weeks in Oshkosh first and is ending up observations on the Grand Chute clinic earlier than he’ll begin working with sufferers.

As a result of many of the tools he used for his observe in Kabul was made within the U.S., there wasn’t an excessive amount of new to be taught, he mentioned, apart from the ins and outs of Dentrix, an digital scheduling and affected person care administration program.

In addition to Azimy, a second Afghan evacuee is already a part of this system and two extra are set to start out quickly, Jacobson mentioned. One, like Azimy, had been a dentist in Afghanistan, and one other had nearly accomplished dental college when the Taliban took over.

There are others who acquired their dental credentials in different nations in this system too, Stacker mentioned. It ties into the group’s mission.

“We really feel that our potential to rent and practice and help not solely Afghan evacuees however different foreign-trained professionals, in addition to residents, is making a wholesome neighborhood by giving them the chance to be taught a talent that may change into a profession for them,” she mentioned.

After all, it was already a profession for Azimy — one he hopes to return to as quickly as doable.

He submitted purposes final week for 3 dental colleges: one in Boston and one in Chicago, in addition to Marquette College in Milwaukee. He’ll additionally need to cross the nationwide board examination for dentistry, for which he mentioned he is begun finding out.

Within the meantime, although, he mentioned settling into life in Wisconsin has been going properly. He credited Good Neighbor Groups, a program from World Reduction Fox Valley that recruits native church members to welcome refugees.

“We now have by no means felt that we’re lacking one thing,” Azimy mentioned. “It is due to the great folks of Wisconsin, I feel.”

Contact reporter Madeline Heim at 920-996-7266 or [email protected] Comply with her on Twitter at @madeline_heim

This text initially appeared on Appleton Submit-Crescent: Afghan evacuees filling gaps in Fox Valley dental well being workforce