Periospectives October-December 2012 : Page 30

PERIO PEOPLE Dr. Amal Zureikat Sharaiha MEMBER YOU SHOULD KNOW: Dr. Amal Zureikat Sharaiha Dr. Amal Zureikat Sharaiha recently added another accolade to her impressive list of achievements. This fall, she was honored by the International Women’s Forum (IWF) as one of the 10 recipients of the “Women Who Make a Difference” award for her work with Operation Smile, Jordan. The awards, given annually by the IWF to recognize women across the globe whose contributions and leadership have removed barriers for women’s advancement, included among its other 2012 honorees The Honorable Paula A. Cox, premier of Bermuda; Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company; and Dr. Glenda Price, president emeritus of Marygrove College. Dr. Amal’s professional achievements include being the first female non-U.S. resident to obtain Diplomate certification by the American Board of Periodontology (1988). Four years prior to that, she became the first woman periodontist to practice in Jordan. She graduated from the Dental School at Cairo University and obtained a certificate in periodontics from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. By royal decree, Dr. Amal was named a member of the initial Board of Trustees of the National Centre for Human Rights in Jordan (2003–2007). Dr. Amal is currently the president of the Jordanian Periodontal Society and a past examiner for the Jordanian Board of Periodontology. In 2003, Dr. Amal was the founding chairperson of Operation Smile in Jordan. A private, nonprofit, volunteer medical-service organization providing reconstructive surgery and related health care services to indigent children and young adults across the world, Operation Smile has treated more than 3,000 children from Jordan, the Palestinian territory, and Iraq. AAP Perio spectives | 30

Perio People: Dr. Amal Zureikat Sharaiha

MEMBER YOU SHOULD KNOW: Dr. Amal Zureikat Sharaiha<br /> <br /> Dr. Amal Zureikat Sharaiha recently added another accolade to her impressive list of achievements. This fall, she was honored by the International Women’s Forum (IWF) as one of the 10 recipients of the “Women Who Make a Difference” award for her work with Operation Smile, Jordan. The awards, given annually by the IWF to recognize women across the globe whose contributions and leadership have removed barriers for women’s advancement, included among its other 2012 honorees The Honorable Paula A. Cox, premier of Bermuda; Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell’s Soup Company; and Dr. Glenda Price, president emeritus of Marygrove College.<br /> <br /> Dr. Amal’s professional achievements include being the first female non-U.S. resident to obtain Diplomate certification by the American Board of Periodontology (1988). Four years prior to that, she became the first woman periodontist to practice in Jordan. She graduated from the Dental School at Cairo University and obtained a certificate in periodontics from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. By royal decree, Dr. Amal was named a member of the initial Board of Trustees of the National Centre for Human Rights in Jordan (2003–2007). Dr. Amal is currently the president of the Jordanian Periodontal Society and a past examiner for the Jordanian Board of Periodontology.<br /> <br /> In 2003, Dr. Amal was the founding chairperson of Operation Smile in Jordan. A private, nonprofit, volunteer medical-service organization providing reconstructive surgery and related health care services to indigent children and young adults across the world, Operation Smile has treated more than 3,000 children from Jordan, the Palestinian territory, and Iraq.<br /> <br /> She currently works at her private clinic in Amman, Jordan.<br /> <br /> What was it like to be the first woman periodontist in Jordan?<br /> <br /> It was challenging at the beginning, as we need to educate people about periodontal diseases. Dentistry to patients was perceived as dental fillings and extractions.<br /> <br /> Please describe Operation Smile Jordan.<br /> <br /> Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that treats underprivileged patients with facial deformities such as cleft lip and/or cleft palate, hemangiomas, and burns.<br /> <br /> Why did you found this organization?<br /> <br /> Children who are born with cleft lip or cleft palate are faced with challenges many of us cannot ever imagine. Many have difficulty eating, speaking, or even smiling. Also, they are hidden away, kept from socializing, attending school, or playing an active role in their community.<br /> <br /> What services have been provided by Operation Smile Jordan?<br /> <br /> Services offered include surgeries to fix facial deformities; speech therapy; dental treatment; and student programs to encourage volunteer work and team work within schools and universities.<br /> <br /> Operation Smile Jordan (OSJ) has operated on more than 3,000 children from Jordan, Iraq, and the Palestinian territory. OSJ also follows up with children after several years in order to fix their teeth and speech.<br /> <br /> What was your most interesting and rewarding experience there?<br /> <br /> The most rewarding experiences come when OSJ treats the adults and elderly in rural parts of Jordan who have been hiding from society due to their deformities. After the operation, it is amazing to see the looks on their faces as they watch themselves in the mirror and see their faces transformed. In less than 45 minutes we have changed a person’s life.<br /> <br /> What do you think of your recent “Women Who Make a Difference” honor?<br /> <br /> I am truly humbled and honored to be among the other women who received this award. It’s great to see this acknowledgment of a humanitarian endeavor, as it truly makes a difference in people’s lives.<br /> <br /> What do you plan to do next?<br /> <br /> I would like to expand Operation Smile’s current activities of conducting four missions a year to include a mobile dental clinic that will travel to remote areas and offer primary care as well as oral hygiene to those underserved communities. We also want to research the presence of such deformities in Jordan and its surrounding region and come up with a master strategy that will tackle these issues based on its size and need.

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