Gulfam Momin

Gulfam and Sameer and children
Gulfam and Sameer with their children

Gulfam Momin
2013 International Dental Graduate

Gulfam Momin admitted to some initial disappointment at being selected to do dentistry when she had her heart set on medicine as a student in India, but she said becoming a dentist was the best decision she ever made.

“I was very interested in studying medicine,” Gulfam said. “(But) it was suggested I should just go along and see what dentistry could be like.

“I loved it. I loved the combination of art and science.

Gulfam worked as a dentist in India before moving with her husband Sameer and their children - son Ali and daughter Sarah - to Brisbane in 2009.

Gulfam said those first two years of life as a migrant in Australia were not a bed of roses as she and Sameer struggled to qualify to work in the medical and dental streams while also caring for their two children, then aged two and seven months.

“Then I applied for a position as a dental assistant at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne,” Gulfam said. “Melbourne was the turning point for us.”

Gulfam was successful in her application and the family moved to Melbourne.

Sameer, who now works as an anatomy demonstrator at the University of Melbourne, is studying to qualify for his Australian Medical Council certificate and last year Gulfam applied to join DHSV’s International Dental Graduates Program.

Gulfam said a career in dentistry provided her with a work-life balance.

“It allows me to work with creativity as well as a part of medical profession, raise my children, run a home; it gives me options,” she said.

In March, Gulfam became one of five graduates to start the 2013 IDG program run by Dental Health Services Victoria.

It was developed to provide a small group of internationally trained dentists, whose qualifications are not fully recognised within Australia, with the opportunity to undertake supervised clinical work under Limited Registration.

It is designed to assist the graduates prepare for the Australian Dental Council (ADC) clinical examination and the respected program includes mentoring, clinical development activities and support for integration into employment in the public sector.

The graduates first undertake an intensive education program and then spend a month in primary care seeing patients under supervision before taking up a rural placement for six months.

For Gulfam being accepted into the program and having the opportunity to again work as a dentist in same hospital proved to her that miracles do happen.

“We came so close to giving up and leaving Australia,” she said. “Now I will have the opportunity to continue in a profession I find very rewarding.

“Passion and honesty to whatever you do and persistence definitely led me to a successful destination.”

Gulfam said becoming qualified as a dentist in Australia had been a long journey of four years. “But now I can say I have nearly made it.”

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Last updated: 2013-08-13