DDS times 3 -- brothers get degrees from UMAB

May 21, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer

The Tofighbakhsh brothers -- Rahim, Hamid and Amir -- are a package deal.

They live together. They went to college together. And when they applied to dental school four years ago, they told admissions officials they had to accept all -- or none.

Now, the three brothers, who graduated from the University of Maryland at Baltimore dental school yesterday, want to open a practice together.

"It's nice. We're just very close," says Rahim, the most talkative of the three.

Rahim and Hamid are 26-year-old twins. Amir is 25, the baby in a family of eight boys.

"My dad always wanted us to stay together," says Hamid, the quiet twin. "He would say that teamwork works better than being alone."

Their late father, a furniture craftsman, brought the family to Maryland from Iran about nine years ago, both to escape the war with Iraq and to give some of his children an American education.

The boys, who spoke little English when they arrived from Iran, stuck together while they finished high school in Prince George's County. They attended the University of Maryland College Park together, all three majoring in biology (with nearly identical grade point averages).

They agreed to be dentists, following the example set by two of their sisters-in-law. "It's a science, but you get to work with your hands," Hamid says.

They opted to apply to dental schools as a threesome and were accepted by four of five schools.

"When we considered all the arguments, we decided it was beneficial to stay together," Amir says.

"We could drive our car together," adds Rahim. "We could live in one place. And emotionally we could support each other."

For the past four years they have lived in the family house near College Park and commuted together to the dental school in Baltimore.

They occasionally finish each other's dental work. One of Rahim's patients insisted that Hamid take out the stitches she was sure he had put in. The woman "wouldn't listen" to Hamid's explanations that she had the wrong dentist so he finally acquiesced and removed the stitches.

The brothers have straight black hair parted on the left, and moderately thick mustaches. Each has a quick broad smile and a chirping laugh.

About the only distinguishing feature is Hamid's braces, put on by a brother, naturally, a few months ago.

The brothers, part of UMAB's class of 81 new dentists, say they will likely stay in the country. Rahim is a citizen and the other two are going through the naturalization process.

They hope to buy and take over an existing dental practice in the Washington area.

If they are unsuccessful, they may have to join a practice of established dentists and split up for the first time ever.

When Hamid went to Arizona this year for a three-week internship, it was the longest the three brothers had been apart.

The three men get along so well they share a banking account with all the names crammed on the checks. "We never had problems with the money we spend," Rahim says. "We share basically everything."

All in all, there seems to be only one looming problem. Women.

"That's my mom's concern. Every time we talk about getting married or going on our own, she panics," Rahim says.

=1 Adds Amir: "She's looking for three sisters."

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