Resident exceeds expectations

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kimberly L. Mueller
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Maj. Timothy Carlson, 81st Dental Squadron endodontic resident, educated his leadership with his award-winning presentation of his research.

Carlson received his first award for the presentation when he went to Montreal, Canada to present research completed throughout his residency at the annual meeting for the American Association of Endodontists.

“It was very satisfying to know that the amount of hard work my staff and the instructors who helped and mentored me was acknowledged,” said Carlson. “It was definitely a team effort. We spent a lot of time going over the results of the research, how to present it and how do to say it just right in the shortest amount of time.”

Lt. Col. Steven Black, 81st DS director of residency, education and training for endodontics, was impressed with the presentation Carlson and the staff put together.

“He had a question and he designed a research program to answer a question he had about a product and techniques that he uses in the clinic, because of that it was really successful,” said Black. “It was a question he had and that’s the best research, research that’s done because you have a question and you want to know the answer to it.”

Although he shines in his career field, Carlson had started out in a different career as aircraft maintenance.

“I started out having no interest to go to college in my entire life and then I came across an Air Force recruiter and I was thinking about going to be an aircraft mechanic,” said Carlson. “I enlisted in 1998 and went to tech school and got an aircraft maintenance job and before I knew it I noticed I had a lot of money for school, so I went to night classes.”

Carlson finished his four year enlistment with his Bachelor’s degree. Soon after he ran into someone attending dental school that sparked his interest in the career field.

“One thing lead to another and it took me a few years to get all my requirements for dental school to get in and then I applied for an Air Force scholarship, got it and went to dental school,” said Carlson. “When I got done with dental school I did a one year residency. I was able to do well in that and set the stage for a good career as an Air Force dentist.”

In addition to his skill in researching and presenting his findings, Carlson is also known for his care for patients.

“My favorite part of the working is working with different patients every day,” said Carlson. “The best part about working with Airmen is I get to hear a lot of their stories, what they do for work, where they’re from, but the key thing about the residency program is I get to see dependents and retirees. Some of the retirees are the most fun to work with because I get to hear stories of when they were active duty, what they did, where they’re from and what brought them to Keesler and so on.”

Carlson’s passion is no secret to his director and staff.

“His most admirable quality is his ability to communicate with the patients,” said Black. “He does a phenomenal job of explaining treatment and putting patients at ease. When you can communicate with a patient and make them feel at ease, explain to them what you’re doing so they can understand it and then perform the procedure at a really high level, that’s what Dr. Carlson does.”

Taking the opportunities given to him in stride, Carlson thanks the Air Force.

“I’m excited for all the opportunities that the Air Force has and encourage everyone else to go for them,” said Carlson. “Don’t ever say no to a great opportunity. Nothing is going to be done for you, you have to be proactive about it and to go get it.”