The Story of N Equals One!

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Categories: Leadership, Oral health, Public Health

by Pujitha Siddani

I have always been a firm believer in education being the key to success and a good life. This belief stems from my parents’ experiences and values. I consider myself very fortunate for having received a quality education and the numerous opportunities that came along with it. As a woman from a developing country, education has not only helped me realize and believe in my potential but also equipped me with the skills necessary to take on the world. Education is one sure way of giving a girl a much greater power, one which enables her to make a genuine choice about the kind of life she wishes to lead. Hence, it was very easy for me to concur with every word that Dr. Harold Slavkin was saying during our staff meeting. He began his story by sharing a sentiment that his parents have passed on to him – “the next generation should do better than their parents’ generation.”

I grew up listening to my parents saying this with every achievement and every disappointment in my life. Every word that Dr. Slavkin said during the meeting resonated with me, but something stood out to me. It was the story of a young pregnant girl with all odds against her. When Dr. Slavkin’s family decided to help her, they could have done that in a lot of ways. But they decided to give her the gift of education. As Mahtab Narsimhan said, “A good education is the greatest gift you can give yourself or anyone else.” It truly is because that young girl is a doctor today with a precious family of her own. All that she needed was an opportunity to shine! Her efforts coupled with an opportunity changed not only her life but also her son’s. Just like her, there are so many children out there who are incredibly smart and talented but are waiting for that one opportunity that will turn their life around. I would like to believe that my time at The L.A. Trust is a chance at bringing such opportunities closer to these children.

So far, every day at The L.A. Trust has taught me something important. As an organization, we focus our efforts on student health because we believe that every child deserves to be healthy enough to learn. We do this because we know education is key. Educating children today empowers them with the skills necessary to transform their lives, the lives of their children and their communities. I believe that I don’t have to be able to do big things to change the world. For me, n equals one means that if I can do a series of small things that will better at least one child’s world, then I believe I’ve done my bit and then, can try to do more!


Pujitha Siddani is a second year MPH student at Cal State Northridge majoring in Community Health Sciences.  It was during her time as a dental volunteer for children in orphanages that motivated her to pursue graduate studies in public health.  She is supporting our Oral Health Initiative as a summer intern.

Student Health = Student Success