Her-story: Tufts dental student honors the legacy of perseverance that inspires

  • March 12, 2019
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Dedication and gratitude — qualities Youstina Youssef, a dental student at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine says the white coat she wears in the photo above, signify in her life.

“This white coat symbolizes not only my dedication to this profession, but also my gratitude for strong women who continue to push forward regardless of the walls set against them,” Youstina says.

“If you know me, you know that this photo here speaks wonders to my soul. On my left, the woman (Gehan Elsousi) who bore me, brought me into this world and introduced me to life. On my right, the grandest of mothers (Gamalat Tadrous). The one who helped raise me, helped mold me into the woman I am today. The tears that run down their faces are ones I’ll treasure for the rest of my days.”

A D.M.D. candidate in the class of 2020, Youstina shares her story #lhpshareyourstory and the legacy of determination that led her to the profession of dentistry.

“I imagine Lucy Hobbs experienced a similar sensation becoming the first female to graduate from a dental school. She was denied and rejected from numerous opportunities solely based on her gender. Yet, she relentlessly pursued her goal.

My story bears a similar spirit. My mother is a single mother. She sacrificed her comfort in Egypt to move to America and give me the best life she possibly could. Soon after marrying and having me in Egypt, she moved to the States with my father who had been living here. Unfortunately, she was sent back to Egypt to stay with her family not too long after for “financial reasons”.”

‘Stranded in a new land’

Youstina describes the intimidating path her mother Gehan Elsousi faced back then.

“Upon her return to America, she was not received at the airport, which left her stranded in a new land, with no knowledge of the English language or American culture, but most importantly, with a child in her arms. She picked herself up from rejection and pushed on.”

Her grandmother Gamalat Tadrous is no less heroic.

“Years later my grandmother decided to make a similar move and left behind her husband and five of her children to help raise me while my mother worked to support us. These two women have taught me a great deal about sacrifice and have ingrained in me the power of perseverance.”

Thankful for a welcome into the world of dentistry

Youstina received her invitation to Tufts University School of Dental Medicine less than 24 hours before orientation from Dr. Jeanette Sabir-Holloway, the school’s director of outreach, recruitment and admissions.

Her reaction:

“Teary-eyed and full-hearted, I packed my bags and set off to chase my childhood dreams. And for that I say from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Lucy Hobbs Project- Dr Jeanette Sabir Holloway
Dr. Jeanette Sabir-Holloway, as featured in Incisal Edge winter edition as the 2018 Lucy Hobbs Project Mentor Award recipient. (Incisal Edge/Alonso Nichols)

Share a Lucy Hobbs Project Award nomination

Nominate before April 26 deadline: https://www.judgify.me/LHP-nominations2019

Annually, Benco Dental pays tribute to the first woman in the U.S. to receive a dental degree – Dr. Lucy Hobbs — by honoring six pioneering women in the dental profession with an award created in her name: The Lucy Hobbs Project<imgsrc=”” alt=”™” class=”wp-smiley” style=”height: 1em; max-height: 1em;”> Awards.

At Benco’s annual Lucy Hobbs Project Celebration (Save the Date for October 3 – 5, 2019 in Chicago!), the dental community is invited to honor award recipients in six categories:

  • Woman to Watch: An up-and-coming leader who utilizes her position to create positive change,
  • Industry Icon: A trailblazer who is consistently recognized and admired for her work in dentistry,
  • Mentor: An advisor who recognizes the importance of supporting, educating and encouraging others,
  • Innovator: A groundbreaker who demonstrates a willingness to implement new technologies and business processes without fear of potential failure,
  • Humanitarian: An altruist who works tirelessly for a cause that benefits the well-being of others, and
  • Clinical Expert: A skillful practitioner who embraces advancements and integrates them into patient care.

Individuals and organizations are invited to submit nominations. Self-nominations are accepted.

Nominate before April 26 deadline: https://www.judgify.me/LHP-nominations2019

March is Women’s History Month 

As Dr. Jeanette Sabir-Holloway and Youstina Youssef have shared their stories, so have many others in celebration of Women’s History Month. Learn more here: https://womenshistory.si.edu/

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

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