Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Rubina came to Pakistan to study dentistry but decided to make Pakistan
her home after graduating as Best Graduate in 1992 from Khyber College of Dentistry. Diving directly into clinical practice, she became one of the first solo female dental practitioners in Islamabad and went to establish herself as a leader in the dental field. Mid-career, she was granted a scholarship by the prestigious Harvard University to do a Masters majoring in Preventive Community and Family Health. Despite opportunities to settle in US and Canada, Dr Rubina chose not to contribute to the brain drain and came back to Islamabad. Today, although the dental practice is her key identity, Dr Rubina wears many hats simultaneously.
On her return in 2006-7, she played a crucial role to initiate the introduction of oral health into the health policy of Pakistan by setting up the National Task Force on Oral Health in the Federal Ministry of Health, Islamabad and co-authoring the Government PC-1 for the first ever School Oral Health Pilot Project in three districts of Punjab. With the successive change in governments, her ambition to introduce a dental policy in Pakistan’s National Health Action Plan is challenged but not surrendered.
On the academic front, Dr Rubina established the Community Dentistry Department in Islamic Dental College in 2006 and today is the Head of Community Dentistry Department in Islamabad Medical and Dental College. On this platform, she collaborated with different NGO organizations to conduct various community level activities e.g. development of the Geriatric Oral Health protocols with HelpAge and provision of field-based primary dental care to earthquake affected victims in Azad Kashmir with the CDRS. She has researched and published extensively in academic journals and the topics she is most passionate are the role of amalgam fillings in terms of mercury toxicity and the role of fluoride at the community drinking water levels.
On the development front, she played an integral role in bringing a US based NGO called Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) to Pakistan during the 2005 earthquake for which she was awarded the Student Recognition Award from Harvard University for the relief provided to the earthquake victims. Today she leads the Pakistan RMF branch as the Country Director and coordinates with the University of Alberta, Canada to implement qualitative research studies in the MCH sector of Pakistan based on gender, class and social exclusion. RMF also provides charity primary healthcare services to disaster affected populations and is currently in the pipeline of becoming one of the first NGOs to provide dental health services to the Internally Displaced Persons taking refuge in Nowshera. Read more at www.realmedicinefoundation.org
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