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Putting some teeth in an academic career

Seventeen years ago, Andrea Palazzo ZuanA Esteves was one of the first Brazilians toA receive her license to work as a dentistA in Canada, but decided to pursue a career inA academia at the University of British ColumbiaA (UBC) instead. Today she is Associate Dean,A Clinical Affairs, at the Faculty of Dentistry andA director of the university’s dental clinic.
Brazilian Vibe – What brought you toA Vancouver?
Andrea Esteves – I came to Vancouver in 1991A because I received a scholarship from RotaryA International to study at UBC. At the time IA didn’t know anything about the city, I had onlyA seen a poster of Vancouver. My plan was to stayA here for one year, but I was accepted to theA Faculty of Dentistry to pursue my masters in theA field of research; there wasn’t anything towardsA clinic work.
BV – What was your professional experienceA in Brazil?
AE – I graduated from the State University ofA Londrina (UEL, in Portuguese) in 1989. In BrazilA I worked at a clinic for two years and took extraA classes at the University of S.o Paulo (USP inA Portuguese). In Londrina I even taught someA classes and planned dentistry courses.
BV – Are there any differences between theA dentistry schools in Brazil and in Canada?
AE – I wouldn’t say so. Even in my first yearA teaching a laboratory class at UBC we wereA using the same book I used at UEL when IA graduated. I do think both education systemsA are very similar.
BV – How was the Brazilian communityA in the academic field when you firstA came to Vancouver?
AE – At that time there weren’t many BraziliansA here, only a few working towards their doctorate,A but nothing compared to the community weA have today. I think in my first six months here IA didn’t speak a word of Portuguese, but now it isA astonishing the number of Brazilians that workA at the Faculty of Dentistry, there are alreadyA five of us. I even joked with the Dean that weA should have meetings in Portuguese since weA are already the majority.
2013_Profile_AndreaEsteves_Vibe_Su13_025BV – What are your duties as associate dean?
AE – I am responsible for building some classes’A curricula and, unlike the Faculty of Medicine,A we don’t have hospitals that offer hands-onA practicum for our students, so we need to haveA our own complete dentist clinic to offer thisA opportunity and I am responsible for the day-todayA operations of the clinic.
BV – What is the process to become aA dentistry professor in Canada?
AE – Unlike in Brazil, you don’t go straight intoA the Faculty of Dentistry. If you only have a highA school diploma the path is similar to any otherA Canadian applicant: you need to go into yourA undergraduate studies and take classes requiredA by the faculty of dentistry before you canA apply. Many people study nursing, among otherA programs, before applying to dentistry, whichA makes the selection much more competitive. It’sA a long journey, but it’s worth it. Dentistry is aA very valued profession.
BV – What if the candidate has experienceA from Brazil?
AE – If you already have a university diplomaA in dentistry from Brazil you have two options:A one option is to enroll in a dentistry school andA start the program in the third year. In this case theA candidate will have to complete the last two yearsA of the program in order to get the license to workA and earn a Canadian diploma, which is great forA the r.sum.. Another option is to take the NationalA Dentistry Board test to revalidate their credentialsA and even though it’s a hard test, it is fair.
BV – Although you don’t practice in theA clinical field, do you think it was worth itA to get your license?
AE – When I arrived I had the opportunity toA extend my academic experience and get myA doctorate, but it would have been towards researchA only. So, I decided to take the tests toA get my license in order to be able to work inA the field. Today, I am part of the college assuranceA of dentistry and last year I won a fellowshipA from the American College of Dentists.A They say only four percent of the dentists inA North America earn this award. They analyze allA candidates according to their work ethics andA professionalism, which made me very happy.

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