New beginnings for the Dentistry Class of 2027

By Emily Leighton

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is welcoming 56 first-year dental students to the community. Meet three members of the Class of 2027 at the start of their journey in dentistry.

Jacob HorsleyJacob Horsley
Hometown: Vaughan, Ontario

“Being part of this community will allow me to engage with a diverse group of individuals who share a common passion for oral health and patient care.”

Jacob Horsley is bringing a unique creative perspective to dental school. As a professional actor since age 10, he has appeared on stages and television screens across Canada, including a recurring role as Charlie Sloane on the CBC/Netflix show Anne with an E.

“Working with diverse artistic teams has taught me the importance of collaboration, acceptance, being open to new ideas and different forms of expression, and embracing change,” he said.  

With an undergraduate degree in medical sciences, his passion for dentistry is driven by a love of science, as well as childhood experiences with anxiety when visiting the dentist. “I’m passionate about making the patient and dentist relationship more trusting and comforting,” he said.

A member of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Horsley is in the process of discovering more about his Indigenous ancestry – his great-grandmother’s family is Moose Cree First Nation. It’s a connection that has ignited his passion to learn and advocate for Indigenous communities.  

As a future dentist, he is also focused on addressing health disparities more broadly.

“It’s my responsibility to understand the social, economic and cultural issues that impact oral health care, and to ensure that all Canadians have reasonable access to care,” he said. “I am eager to learn more about the ways I can give back to the community.”

Thien-Kim NguyenThien-Kim Nguyen
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario  

“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to grow alongside classmates with similar goals, yet such different lives and experiences. There will be a lot to learn from my instructors and peers along the way, and I’m so excited to experience as much as I can.”

Growing up in a low-income household with no dental insurance, Thien-Kim Nguyen knows firsthand how socioeconomic barriers can limit access to basic oral health care.

“As refugees who escaped the Vietnam war, my parents went through many struggles and risked their lives to give me a better future,” she said.

Losing her father at a young age, Nguyen says her mother, who raised two daughters on her own, continues to be a source of inspiration.

Having volunteered with health promotion initiatives as an undergraduate student in medical sciences, Nguyen plans to continue this type of involvement at the School through community outreach programs focused on equitable access to care.

“I hope to continue advocating for others,” she said. “It’s important to work toward making dentistry more accessible to underserved populations.”

With a passion for the arts inherited from her late father, including drawing, piano and dance, Nguyen considers dentistry a perfect professional fit. “Dentistry is a perfect way to combine my love of art and science to provide exceptional patient care,” she said. “Every day, I hope I can make my family proud knowing I’ll be doing what I love while helping others.”

Ahmed SlimAhmed Slim
Hometown: London, Ontario   

“Being a part of the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry community means celebrating diverse ethnicities, perspectives, experiences and beliefs. Because health care is a collaborative and interdisciplinary field, there is a level of altruism, camaraderie and appreciation between the professionals in our community, regardless of discipline or specialty.”   

For Ahmed Slim, socioeconomic challenges are a lived reality.   

“I was raised in a single-mother household, which had emotional, psychological and socioeconomic impacts on my family,” he said. “I understood at a young age that I needed to embrace unconventional responsibilities to support my family. But I’m grateful for these challenges because they encouraged my growth as a morally sensitive individual.”

Slim works with the Cross Cultural Learner Centre in London, helping newcomers transition and integrate into the community. The experience has exposed him to many families like his own, who struggle to access oral health care.

He is inspired by the work of Dr. Kenneth Wright, a former faculty member who created Schulich Dentistry’s community outreach programming and continues to work with underserved Londoners. “My personal experiences inspire me to establish and participate in programs that provide subsidized dental services for low-income community members,” he said.

A graduate of the Bachelor of Medical Sciences program at the School, Slim is also involved in emergency medicine research at London Health Sciences Centre, which has given him an appreciation for the connection between oral health and overall health.

“I’m continuously reminded of the impact dentistry has in the lives of patients.”