George Jenkins, DMD
As a young boy growing up in Newark, New Jersey, Dr. George Jenkins had a powerful advantage over many of his peers – he had a dream. It was a dream that kept him off his crime-ridden streets and dedicated to his schoolwork. It was a dream that helped him to inspire two friends he made in high school. It was a dream that now helps him inspire countless others. That dream was to become a dentist.
Born on February 6, 1973, Dr. Jenkins lived the kind of life you would expect in one of the nation’s poorest cities. But, on a fateful day when he was 13 years old, a routine dental check-up altered his course. Always an inquisitive child, he was fascinated by the tools in his dentist’s office. Sensing Dr. Jenkins’ curiosity, that dentist spent a little extra time with him, explaining each tool and what it was used for. These few minutes became the catalyst for the young boy’s ambition.
Determined to get to dental school, Dr. Jenkins stayed focused on success while attending University High School. Having met Rameck Hunt and Sampson Davis as teenagers, Dr. Jenkins found kindred spirits. The three made a promise to each other that somehow, together, they would make more of themselves than the statistics indicated. Their journey was never easy, and it certainly had its detours, but Dr. Jenkins was a driving force so powerful that he convinced his two friends they should also become doctors.
Together, the three young men attended Seton Hall University’s Pre- Medicine/Pre-Dental Plus program, specifically designed to encourage minority students to pursue medical careers. The social and financial hardships that followed them through high school continued through college, making medical school sometimes seem impossible. But, with deeply rooted strength and a commitment to persevere, the three headed off, still together, to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, one step closer to becoming doctors.
Today, Dr. Jenkins serves as Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry at Columbia University.