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Supporting the Global Medical Brigades

April 10th, 2013

Wellesley College Student, Farah Mahmud, recently reached out to Drs. Ali & Ali, asking Wellesley Dental Group to show its support for the Global Medical Brigades, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Brigades is the world’s largest student-led international relief organization. Students from Wellesley College are gathering essential medical equipment, supplies, and drugs for an upcoming trip to Honduras in the summer. We are so proud to support them in this endeavor and want to raise awareness.

Join us in giving back to this great cause! Call or email us for more information on the supplies they need at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com!

Feeling the need to give back and volunteer? The group is also looking for medical professionals to volunteer.

There is no time better than the present to take part!

 

Dr. Femina Ali: Mom, dentist and volunteer extraordinaire

April 8th, 2013

Editor's note: Below is an except from Cassidy Swanson's article Dr. Femina Ali: Mom, dentist and volunteer extraordinaire featured on the Swellesley Report and JSONS.org. Cassidy Swanson is currently a journalism graduate student at Emerson College in Boston.

WELLESLEY – For the first thing on a Thursday morning, Wellesley Dental Group is an unusually cheery place. The staff is warm and friendly, and the patients seem happy to be there – not typical for a dentist’s office. At the center of it all is Dr. Femina Ali, with her bright smile and positive outlook.

“[My staff] are my daytime family, I tell them that,’” she said.

Femina is more than a friendly boss and dentist. As a Pakistani immigrant, she is part of the changing face of the town of Wellesley, an affluent and overwhelmingly white community for many years. That’s starting to change. Between 2000 and 2010, census data shows that people of Asian ancestry, particularly from eastern Asia and the Indian subcontinent, shot up from 6 percent to 10 percent of the total population – a significant change in a town of 28,000.

But Femina, who has lived in Wellesley for 16 years, is much more than a representative of demographic change in the community.  She is an agent of commitment and change as well. After starting as a volunteer at her children’s elementary school, today she is an active volunteer in many aspects of community life from A to Z, serving on 20 committees and fundraising events each year.

“[Femina] doesn't seem to be complete unless she is heavily engrossed in other town-wide projects,” said Mary Bowers, of the Council on Aging, where Femina donates dental service to elderly in need. “She never ceases to amaze me with her energy and resolve to make this place a better place while she is on this good earth.”

Femina grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and attended dental school at De’Montmorency College of Dentistry in Lahore. There she met her husband, Dr. Ejaz Ali. The Alis graduated in 1982 and moved to the United States in 1987 with the goal of opening their own dentistry practice. They had a daughter, Zarah, in 1988, and a son, Zann, in 1990.

“We came here in pursuit of higher education, in pursuit of the American dream,” she said. “But now, this is home to me.”

The Alis lived their first few years in the United States in Indiana and Florida, supporting their family by working odd jobs. Though both Drs. Ali had completed dental school in Pakistan, they could not practice in the United States without completing another dental program here.

When Ejaz was accepted into Tufts Dental School, the family moved to Malden. He graduated in 1994, and Feminastarted at Tufts shortly after in 1995.

Being at Tufts brought the Alis to the state they grew to know and love.

“Massachusetts grew on us,” she said. “We cannot leave Massachusetts now, we are so spoiled [here]. This is the best place to live, I think, in the United States.”

When Femina graduated in 1997, the opportunity to start their own practice became available. The Alis moved to Wellesley, where they opened Wellesley Dental Group, and they haven’t looked back since.

With her husband’s support and a successful practice, by the time Zann and Zarah were in school, Femina felt she could give back to the Wellesley community. That’s when she was bitten by the volunteering bug.

Today, Femina is involved with more than 20 different organizations, annual events and fundraisers in the town of Wellesley. She serves as the president of the Women’s Business Network, a board member of the Wellesley Chamber of Commerce, a mentor for the Wellesley College Pre-Dental Society, a board member of the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club, a founding member of the Fund for Wellesley, and many other positions. She also started a highly successful annual candy drive after Halloween, in which all the candy is sent in care packages to soldiers serving overseas.

“You just feel like you get a lot back by giving back,” she said. “Since I am part of all different organizations in town, I enjoy that relationship part, that I can cultivate a relationship with different organizations.”

Femina and Ejaz are also involved with the Wellesley Newcomers Club, an outreach organization for new residents.

Femina said she has seen many other immigrants from Asian countries getting involved in the community, and doesn't believe that any sort of cultural barrier or apathy keeps foreigners from fully integrating; it just takes a little time for some.

“Sometimes it is because you are new to town – you could be Asian-American, or just American,” she said. “You have to get through survival mode first, getting the kids settled in school, and then once you’re settled in, you [say], ‘What can I do to give back to the community?’”

Through her volunteer work, Femina has earned the respect and friendship of many. The Rev. Dr. Bonnie Jelinek, pastor at the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, served with Femina on the Wellesley High School PTSO, and says Femina is “a woman of incredible integrity.”

“She comes up with ideas that are phenomenal,” Jelinek said. “She was just very, very good about having excellent communication between the parents and the school. She loves her community so much, and she’ll do anything she can to help it and advance it.”

Gail Van Kleeck, one of Femina’s colleagues in the Women’s Business Network, said Femina has been a great leader for the organization.

“I think she’s really good team player,” Van Kleeck said. “She does not seek the limelight; she encourages people. She is always there to affirm people. [That is] especially rare in a powerful woman. She is gracious and she is engaging and she is appreciative.”

Zarah is currently studying dentistry at Tufts, and the Alis hope to pass the practice onto their daughter when they retire. Ejaz said they would like to travel to developing countries and donate dental services to people in need.

“This way, we can travel, we can have fun, and we can take dentistry from the United States and spread it around the world,” he said.

But until then, Femina said, she still has a lot to do in Wellesley.

“This town has given me so much,” she said. “This town has give me a place to live, a place to work, a very friendly community…This town has given good education to my kids…So whatever I do for my town, it’s not enough. I wish I had more time.”

To read the full article, Dr. Femina Ali: Mom, dentist and volunteer extraordinaire, please visit JSONS.org.

 

Tufts Alumni Admissions Program: TAAP

March 28th, 2013

 

Our wonderful Dr. Femina Ali recently reached the end of her commitment as Tufts Alumni Admissions Program's committee chair for the Metro-West area. Both and and Dr. Ali graduated from Tufts Dental School, one of the finest Dental Schools in the nation. Tufts is also the Alma Mater of Drs. Ali’s daughter, Zarah, who will soon become the next Dr. Ali. Zarah is currently enrolled in Tufts Dental School and recently had the honor of receiving her White Coat by her loving parents.

Dr. Femina Ali’s love of Tufts is palpable and she reluctantly decided to resign as Chair. Her numerous community commitments in and around the MetreoWest area as well as commitments to her family keep her incredibly busy. She is looking forward to her new adventures within her volunteer communities and is proud to be a part of the Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club, serves as President of the Women’s Business Network, serves on the board of the Wellesley Chamber of Commerce, supports the Wellesley Newcomers Club,  serves as a board member of the Wellesley Teen Center, and more. Drs. Ali & Ali also were among the founding members of the Fund for Wellesley and are members of the Wellesley Club.

[caption id="attachment_4425" align="aligncenter" width="594" caption="Drs. Ali & Ali presenting their daughter with her white coat at the 2013 Tufts ceremony."]Drs. Ali & Ali presenting their daughter with her white coat at the 2013 Tufts ceremony.[/caption]

As hard as it is to step down from her position at Tufts, she knows that she will be back alongside her fellow Jumbos. Here is her letter of resignation to her Tufts Admissions Committee:

"I want to thank you so much for making my time as your TAAP Chair so enriching and fulfilling. You have been an amazing group. Together, we helped grow our Tufts family and changed the lives of our new Jumbos. What we do at TAAP is such an incredible testament to how special Tufts is. The care and time we take to get to know every applicant, hear their stories, and help them embark on one of the most exciting times of their lives; it's not something we take lightly. I have been so proud that we have upheld this tradition with integrity and tenacity.

"It is on this note that I want to announce my resignation from TAAP and resignation as the Committee Chair. It has been a time I will never forget and sadly, personal and other volunteer obligations will prevent me from participating next year. I wish you all the best and look forward to when I can serve alongside you once again for the greater good and for the Tufts we all love."

Her announcement has garnered a outpouring of love and support from the Tufts community:

"We have been lucky to have you as the chair of Norfolk North committee for as long as we did.  You have been a very thorough and conscientious chairperson who has demonstrated a strong commitment to the success of TAAP.  We thank you for the energy and heart you have brought to your TAAP volunteerism.  I have truly enjoyed working with you."

“I want to thank you so much for doing such amazing work as our TAAP committee chair! You will be incredibly difficult to replace, and you’ve done so much to  help many Tufts students find their way here. I appreciate your help! We’ll miss you, come back any time!"

"You did such a good job as chair of this committee.  It was fun and easy to work with you.  Good luck with all your new adventures.  I am sure we will cross paths again soon."

“Thanks for your hard work in the committee and best of luck in your future endeavors.”

"Thank you so much for your commitment to Tufts, especially in a challenging application year with high volume - after taking a hiatus from interviewing for several years, it was great to be back meeting with applicants, and I appreciate your help in making this return transition such an enjoyable one."

"You will absolutely be missed!  You have done an amazing job as the Committee Chair – thank you so much for all of your hard work!  I was so glad to finally meet you in the fall – and also sorry that I will not be working with you going forward.  I wish you lots of luck in all of your endeavors in the future"

 

 

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