EIOH Resident Spotlight - Dr. Shahneel Ahmed

Jun. 21, 2023

Dr. Shahneel Ada Ahmed is earning both her master's degree in Dental Science and a certificate in the Orofacial Pain Residency Program. She says the last two years have been "somewhat of a potent, thrilling, roller coaster ride." 

Q  Where are you from?
A.  City of Joy - Kolkata, India. Where people and the desserts, both are sweet as honey.

Q. Any papers published while you were at EIOH?
A. Not yet published but in the works: my master’s thesis “Efficacy of Duloxetine and Gabapentin in changing Exercise Induced hypoalgesia Profiles”

Q. Any presentations at conferences?
A. Key-note speaker at the case series in Orofacial Pain and Headaches by Harvard, TUFTS and EIOH. Delivered a talk on "Post Traumatic Trigeminal Neuropathic Pain Disorder" to dentists around the world.

Dr. Ahmed standing outside Eastman building with co residents
Dr. Ahmed (l to r) with co-residents Dr. Ghida Askar and Jitin Mathew

Q. Best memory of your EIOH residency?
A.  My co-residents and I have functioned as a tight-knit trio as we’ve pushed our way and supported each other through the program. We all met each other first over an extensive CPR training at the very beginning and that remains a fond vivid memory for me. Back then, we had no idea we’d all play such significant roles in ensuring each of our successes in the program and outside

Q. In what way did your EIOH experience allow you to grow professionally?
A.  The combined Masters and Residency spanning only 2 years has been somewhat of a potent, thrilling, roller coaster ride. Completing the program and acquiring the license to practice while learning to survive and thrive in an individualistic ecosystem has been intense. But, I have upskilled seriously in the areas of time management, boundary setting in a professional environment, and work ethics more generally.

Q. In what way did your EIOH experience allow you to grow personally?
A. There’s been immense growth with just living and operating independently outside the comforts of home. The other side of the coin would be the avenues of liberation afforded to me as a South Asian women escaping the scrutiny/policing I experienced and normalized back in the motherland. Finally, finding friends and mentors from different cultures, countries, professional settings, and socioeconomic background has forced/enabled an expansion of my worldview. Sounds cheesy but I feel renewed on so many levels!

Q. What are next steps after you graduate?
A. Land a full-time dentist work opportunity in a bustling metropolis, perhaps Chicago. Get my immigration pathway in order. Explore what a much bigger disposable income could mean for my personal journey and for my family too.

Ahmed one
Dr. Shahneel Ahmed is graduating with a master's degree and certificate in Orofacial Pain

Q. What’s the best advice you ever received?
A. “Puchne mei kya jata hai” which translates to “What’s the harm in asking?” Something my dad has remarked a million times since my childhood. I’ve only fully appreciated the embedded wisdom with time. We often get in our own way/judgment when it comes to approaching someone with a question seemingly ridiculous. No matter how silly a question or doubt may seem, just ask!

Q. Favorite part of Rochester?
A. Genesee Valley Park: Made the most precious memories with my best friends. We’d go for runs, biking or just read a book while getting some sun!

Q. Last time you were in awe?
A. Few weeks ago, stargazing into the vast Midwest sky in rural Iowa with my brothers. The shooting stars were mesmerizing. It was my birthday too!

Q. The one thing you can’t live without?
A.  Music, melodies, and movement. That’s my therapy!

Q. A person who has inspired you?
A. My younger brother, Salman. He has now spent almost 7 years in the country, finding himself a little more boldly, fully, and clearly with every year that passes. I see himself prioritizing himself, his expression, his freedom unapologetically, while also celebrating and tapping in fully into the best of the collective culture and ways of life our people represent back in India.

Q. The one thing you’ve always wanted to do but never have?
A. Learn how to fly a plane and also skydive from one!

Q. If you could change one thing about yourself?
A. My openness to receiving support and love. As an Indian woman, self-sacrifice comes easy and instinctively. But there’s guilt on the other side and that’s something I want to work on.