EIOH Resident Spotlight – Dr. Harold Nii-Aponsah

May. 23, 2024

For Dr. Harold Nii-Aponsah (DPH ’24), coming to EIOH was a dream come true after hearing all about the Institute from alumni in his hometown of Accra, Ghana.

Four men in blue scrubs acting silly in a hallway.
(left to right) AEGD fellows Onur Nacakgedigi and Rubem Costa Araujo, and DPH residents Harold Nii-Aponsah and Chintan Desai

Q: Best memory of your EIOH residency?
A: Two great days! My first day at Eastman was simply euphoric; the orientation was surreal and made me feel truly special. Another memorable moment was when I received the news that I had passed the 2024 ABDPH Board Exam. Good times indeed!

Q: Any papers published while you were at EIOH?
A: A published systematic review and four manuscripts ready for publication. I was also recognized in the authorship for my significant contribution to the publication of the State of Veteran Oral Health in Iowa Report by CareQuest Institute this year.

Q: Any presentations, awards or recognitions?
A: It has been a fruitful stay at Eastman Dental. I received a Research Fellowship at the American Institute of Dental Public Health. I also obtained a $25,000 University of Rochester CTSI Trainee Pilot Grant as the Principal Investigator for my Diabetes Screening in Dental Offices pilot project. Additionally, I was accepted into the year-long leadership fellowship at the Dental Public Health Leadership Academy. I presented a poster at the New York State Oral Health Coalition in Albany. I was appointed to serve on the Board of Directors at the American Institute of Dental Public Health for the next three years, and lastly, I successfully passed the 2024 American Board of Dental Public Health Qualifying Exam—a major step towards being Board Certified/Diplomate.

Four people wearing blue "Crest + Oral-B" t-shirts stand in front of a blue van labeled "Mobile Dentistry Clinic"
(left to right) Colby Parks (SmileMobile Clinic Manager), Harold Nii-Aponsah, Chintan Desai (DPH ’24), and Amy Tran (GPR ’24) working from a Kare Mobile Dentistry Clinic.

Q: Why did you choose Eastman?
A: Eastman has a great reputation at my dental school in Ghana; two of our prominent faculty members in dental school, Dr. Gyaami Amoah and Dr. Francis Adu-Ababiio, are alumni of the Eastman Institute in England and often used EIOH references in their teaching. Many of our dentistry books also cited works from Eastman. Thus, throughout most of my dental education, I admired the Eastman Institute for Oral Health as a dream institution—it was quite popular. After moving to the United States, I fell even more in love with EIOH upon learning about the multicultural nature of its residents and its formidable reputation in dentistry and oral health research. Therefore, when it was time to apply for a residency program, it had to be my first choice!

Q: In what way did your Eastman experience allow you to grow?
A: Eastman gave me the opportunity to learn a lot more in the realm of dental public health. It afforded me several opportunities to grow within this field, and joining Eastman opened my eyes to the realization that there is much more to dentistry than I had imagined. I keep learning!

Q: Next steps after graduation?
A: I will begin the Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) program at Eastman. I am particularly excited about this great step as it has always been a career goal of mine to blend both Dental Public Health and General Dentistry to positively affect the oral health of vulnerable populations.

Four men sit laughing around a table that has fruit and desserts on it. Two men are playing guitars and the other two are playing ukuleles.
A jam session between Harold Nii-Aponsah and AEGD fellows Onur Nacakgedigi, Rubem Costa Araujo, and Kevin Hu.

Q: A person who has inspired you?
A: My father has been a great inspiration, pushing me beyond my limits!

Q: Best advice you ever received?
A: “If you have to do something, do it WELL! Do it like your life depends on it, or just don’t it at all.”

Q: Other than dentist, what career would you choose?
A: I would have been a teacher. I have always wanted to mentor students!

Q: If you could change one thing about yourself?
A: There is not a thing I would like to change about me.

Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
A: I would like to be a Genie, granting people their wishes- humanity will be so much better.

Q: Favorite part of Rochester?
A: I generally love the “green scenery” in Rochester, the parks and the breweries!

Two men in glasses sit in chairs on the bleachers of a crowded stadium. The man in the back is giving a thumbs-up. Text on the bottom of the picture reads "Innovative Field - Rochester, NY"
Dr. Nii-Aponsah and Dr. Kevin Hu enjoying a Red Wings baseball game.

Q: Favorite place you’ve traveled?
A: Niagara Falls, both New York and Canada

Q: Favorite game to watch or play?
A: I love baseball. I am almost always either at the ballpark in Rochester watching the Rochester Red Wings play or watching the Major League at home after work!

Q: Last time you were in awe?
A: Eclipse!

Q: One thing few people know about you?
A: I am very jumpy. Just creep up from behind and watch me jump.

Q: Your biggest fear?
A: I always thought of myself as a fearless man until I encountered a snake recently. I have ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes.

Q: The one thing you can’t live without?
A: Sad to say, I cannot live without my laptop.

Q: If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Ghanaian Jollof Rice & Beef.