Written in partnership with Nick Kasmik.
For some people, a chosen profession is more than simply their nine-to-five daily “job.”
It may be a calling, something they are almost compelled to do. It may also be a mission, something they believe they are driven to see through, almost like a reason for being.
Dr. Cameron Lewis recognized that becoming a doctor and helping people was his mission when he was only 12. It came almost out of the blue – there was no doctor in his family to inspire him – and he was still unsure about which medical specialty would be his goal.
“I told my parents, let me take my grades seriously through junior high and high school, so I can find my focus, locate a prerequisite program and make sure I knew where I wanted to go,” Dr. Cameron Lewis recalls. His plan led him to Xavier University in New Orleans as a stepping-stone toward becoming a doctor, but it still didn’t help him choose which branch of medicine to pursue.
A trip to South Africa eventually helped Dr. Cameron Lewis make up his mind. “I went into a hospital emergency room where there was no air conditioning, there were hordes of people in pain, and one dentist who was available for six hours a day,” he says. “And I was told these people will be in pain for a while, waiting a couple more days before it’s their turn. And I said, right then and there, that I wanted to be an oral surgeon. From that moment, the game completely changed for me.”
Dr. Cameron Lewis’s journey toward becoming an oral surgeon and practicing the method he wanted was anything but ordinary. After finishing dental school, it was three years before he was admitted into an oral surgeon program. “But I kept trying, doing internships, and persevered my way through because I knew deep in my heart that I would become an oral surgeon no matter what,” he explains.
The next variance came when Dr. Cameron Lewis followed his path. Rather than opening an office or accepting a contract job in an established practice, as is common practice with dentists, he chose to become an independent oral surgeon – Dr. Cameron Lewis, his boss, as he likes to say. The benefits from that decision included lower overhead costs, but that’s not all.
“I’m able to travel to different locations such as Greenwich, Connecticut, Northern Westchester, and all these different communities,” he explains. “So, I can bring my services to the communities that need them, and they pay me for the service I’m doing to their community.”
Since he started practicing oral surgery in that manner, Dr. Cameron Lewis has learned a lot about business. He’s also had plenty of time to reflect on what helped him build up his career today – he’s no stranger to hardship and fighting against the odds. His secret – something he enjoys sharing freely can be a secret– is his faith.
“When I was depressed and at my lowest, I never doubted my faith and purpose. I kept coming back to the Scripture, Isaiah 60:1, which says arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you,” he says. “I have to keep these positive words in my mindset because if I didn’t, my mind would be all over the place.”
Besides using powerful words from the Good Book to strengthen his mind against hardships, Dr. Cameron Lewis also sees the benefits of structure and physical activities. So, he works out, which helps release endorphins and burns stress and calories. He also enjoys prayer and meditation, which are perfect for bringing peace of mind and a sense of purpose.
The best example of Dr. Cameron Lewis’s unique dedication to patient care came during the COVID-19 pandemic. When dentists across the country closed their offices and avoided contact, he took on all patients who needed him.
“People had nowhere to go, and everyone was terrified to go to work,” he recalls. “And I said I’m going to serve people no matter what. So, I was cautious, took every sanitary precaution, and never contracted COVID. I treated people with it. Neither I nor my team members who continued working and treating people caught COVID.”
Like most good doctors, Dr. Cameron Lewis would prefer it if people didn’t require his services.
But he’s unfortunately often called when problems have been left untreated for too long, where disease and decay have progressed to the point where a surgeon is necessary. Still, with his positive attitude and genuine care for his patients, he’s easily the person everyone wishes for when dental care is needed.
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