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ATSU-ASDOH student says School’s mission matches his vision of service to underserved

A.T. Still University-Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) student Joshua Palmer, D1, has a vision of his future.

“My future as a professional is clear to me. The path to get there will be the adventure of it, of course, but I do envision myself eventually making it back to private or group practice organizations in rural towns. I worked as a dental assistant in rural Wyoming and found many people had to travel great distances to get access to care. I would like to eventually have multiple offices, that even if they are open one day a week, will allow me to travel to my patients, rather than the other way around,” he said.

Palmer’s ideal approach to dentistry in his future made ATSU-ASDOH the right place for him.

“This School’s focus on the underserved communities has been awesome for this vision of mine,” he said.

Palmer has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Brigham Young University-Idaho. In Mesa, Arizona, he has gotten involved outside of the classroom as a member of the American Student Dental Association, Orthodontic Specialty Club, and Hispanic Student Dental Association.

“I am fluent in Spanish and had the opportunity to serve a mission for my church, where I was assigned to the Hispanic community,” Palmer said. “I grew a deep love for them while on my mission and I desire to use my Spanish and be of service to that population for the rest of my life. Knowing that my future patients can know with confidence that they will receive good care and also be educated in their own language is a goal of mine.”

Palmer also serves as a student ambassador, telling of his experiences with ATSU-ASDOH. He met an ATSU-ASDOH alumnus earlier in his life, and that put the school on the map for him. Throughout the application and interview process, Palmer got to know about the School’s community focus and found his values would be allowed to thrive in Mesa.

“Awesome facilities, great faculty, and a winning curriculum were just the icing on the cake,” Palmer said. “Working with the admissions team as a student ambassador has been a highlight for me. I wanted to join this group from the moment I met them on my interview day. The application process is a difficult part of our young lives and for those of us without mentors in the field already, it can seem impossible. I really believe in the responsibility of each of us to give back after we have acquired certain skills or experience, and the ambassadors was a way for me to do that.”

Palmer enjoys reading, playing the piano, serving his church, and exercising, and is currently preparing to run his first marathon. Family, though, is most important to him.

“I am a family man through and through. Married a beautiful girl from Idaho, oldest of six children, and extremely blessed to have been raised in rural communities that felt like an extension of that family,” he said.

He’s found an extension of his family amongst his ATSU-ASDOH cohort.

“I am a part of a wonderful class that has become a supportive community in itself for me. We are all striving to achieve this goal many of us have had for many years of our lives. It’s an honor that I’m so grateful for, to have this opportunity, and I try to live up every day, class, and assignment to its fullest,” Palmer said. “I love our modular curriculum and the early exposure in the clinic has made this education process unique and fulfilling, as I feel both prepared didactically and can know with confidence that my hand skills and patient skills will be where they need to be for me to be a competent provider.”

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