Yousif Hakeem is the Vice President of Operation Golden Shield and comes from a George Mason family. As a community health major from Vienna, Virginia, he is the President of George Mason University’s Volunteers Around the World (VAW) Dental Outreach chapter. In August 2022, the aspiring dentist traveled to Cusco, Peru, where he and his chapter members assisted two VAW dentists and a nurse with cleanings, restorations, fillings, and extractions for almost 100 patients.
“My high school had a unique program in which you complete an internship for two weeks and then report on your experience. I decided to intern with my cousin who is a dentist, and I instantly fell in love with the profession. I love how focused it is and how the results are instantaneous. Many people think dentistry is just teeth, but it really ties to your overall health. In Cusco, we saw a 14-year-old who had never brushed his teeth in his entire life. That was normal for them, and it was so easy to implement change—you just give out toothbrushes and floss and provide some simple lessons. In community health, you learn about preventative medicine for large groups of people. My aspirations include becoming a global health dentist. I don’t necessarily want to work in an office building. I want to travel the globe and work in underserved communities. The work we did in Peru cemented for me what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Through Operation Golden Shield, Yousif extends his passion for the amicable work we are able to provide to the surrounding community.
Operation Golden Shield will be holding a collection event on Saturday, July 22 to collect and deliver requested high-priority items in individually packed care packages to Veterans experiencing homelessness at the DC VAMC Community Living Center and residents of the Emery Low Barrier Shelter.