This week I decided to catch up with ex-MUDRSoc President and society visionary, Mohammad Jaberansari!
Here’s what I found out when I asked him a few questions about the history of the society and how his life has changed since he’s graduated…
– What made you start this society?
It was in 3rd year when I first truly grasped the research credentials of the School of Dentistry, and started to appreciate the many great academics and clinicians, that as students we had hardly come into contact with. The school did and continues to do an excellent job in promoting leading research among postgraduates. Yet, that work did not seem to trickle down to the undergraduate level at all. There was a missing link. I sensed the need for organising a forum beyond regular symposiums, to highlight the career paths and unique research of the many inspiring clinicians at the University of Manchester.
In respect to practical ability, sure we are all taught how to etch and bond composite in incremental layers but let’s all be honest, we won’t be seeing pictures of any undergraduate work on ‘Style Italiano’ anytime soon. But why not? Whilst it’s important to grasp the foundation skills of dentistry, I for one was left yearning to learn more about a variety of innovative and modern techniques. Thus society driven workshops for bringing the very best tips from experienced clinicians could be a fantastic complement to the development of student’s clinical skills. In other words, turn our composite blobs into better functional and aesthetic quality restorations please!
This wasn’t a completely novel idea, and as the first dental rep of the Manchester Medical Research Student Society, I soon realised that the medics are far ahead of dental undergrads in this field. With multiple societies promoting academic, practical and CV skills throughout the year, they have created a fantastic adjunct to their development. It was only natural that a society encompassing those missions had to be formed.
– Was it difficult to start from scratch?
A lot of things are difficult. Finding a free computer in the library during exam season may be just short of impossible. Creating a society has its challenges. But creating one with the goal of organising the first ever British Undergraduate Dental Research Conference with over 200 students from all over the country for a full day of a variety of practical clinical workshops and and talks by professors, consultants and leading clinicians and the Chief Dental Officer …..Yeah I think it’s fair to say the whole team had a few sleepless nights. Personally I think if you have an idea you believe in and you’re ready to dedicate your time and energy for it, everything else will fall into place. An innovative idea, a dedicated team and personal sacrifice most of the time bears good results. No pain no gain right? Also without the ongoing help and support of Professor Coulthard and Professor Helen Worthington, we wouldn’t have managed to get the society off the ground.
– What is the best part of being involved in such a successful society?
It’s a great feeling if you’ve contributed to something worthwhile and sustainable. So get involved! The society is the best platform to network with students from all across the country and esteemed Professors, consultants and clinicians …the likes of Professors’ Kevin O’brien, Julian Yates and Paul Coulthard.
– Are there any downsides?
It takes a lot of time to organise multiple events of varying sizes. The committee members meet every week and sometimes several times a week for on average 2-3 hours after 5pm. Juggling the work load with university deadlines can be very difficult. The pressure can be very stressful but a functioning team can go a long way to relieve that.
– Is there anything you would change if you could?
I would have liked for more people to have been involved with the committee so as to spread the ethos of the Manchester Undergraduate Dental Research Society, especially people from younger years. It’d be nice for students to get involved from their very first year at University.
– What are you doing nowadays?
I am currently in the first of my 2 years of Dental Foundation Training. I was very blessed to have got my first choice at a two year post as opposed to the usual one year DFT post nationwide. The 2 year post divides my week into two days of primary and three days of secondary care. I soon realised they are worlds apart. This year most of my week is spent at the Leeds Dental Institute as a restorative DCT but with rotations in paediatrics and oral surgery as well. The rest of my week is spent at Horbury Dental and Implant clinic, a large privately owned practice in the beautiful little town of Horbury just outside of Leeds. Next year my weekly rotation will be reversed to include more primary care setting. Filling the shoes of a restorative DCT is very difficult but a massive learning curve that I definitely enjoy. I would recommend the post to any final year student. Being around consultants allows you to comfortably learn to raise flaps, carry out challenging re-RCTs with the aid of microscopes and develop your skills. It’s a also a great opportunity to get involved with research. It does mean there’ll be a pile of letters for you to dictate throughout the week. You will feel like a small fish in a big pond but you’ll lean to swim past the hurdles. Primary care has less paperwork but a greater number of patients have to be seen. I currently see just short of 15 patients a day but be prepared to do a lot of checkups. So far I’m enjoying both posts and look forward to rest of the 2 years.
– Do you have any advice for the current committee?
Work hard and help each other out. The greater the team the better the end results will be. You’re going to be seeing each other lot, so try and get the best out of each other. Ismail worked with me on the past 2 conferences and was a fantastic driving force. He therefore has the advantage of experience when times get hard but I’m sure together you’re going to be a memorable team for the society. Good luck guys!
– Do you have any advice for members wanting to get involved?
Attend the events, get to know the team and contribute in any way you can. This will give you a great insight into to the kind of work the team does and hopefully motivate you to get involved with the future committees. Remember you are a member of the largest Undergraduate Dental Research Society of its kind in the country so it’s a great opportunity to attend the events and aid the team in their work.
– Would you be willing to work with the society now that you’ve left?
Absolutely. I have regular contact with Ismail and look forward to meeting the rest of the committee at some point. I will always be available to help if I’m needed. Don’t hesitate to contact me. My kind request is that you don’t give up when times become difficult, but make sure you keep on top of your studies at the same time. Once you all graduate you’ll realise what a great opportunity you had to be involved with a society like this, so make sure that you make the best of it! I will attend any of your events that I’m able to do so and would be happy to come and help you all in any way I can. It’s very hard for me to let go, having spent so much of my time and energy on the society, but it’s also important that a new team is allowed to express itself so as to keep the society sustainable. Remember the biggest goal is that the society continues to grow, so whatever you do, please have that larger goal in mind.
– What are your hopes and goals for this society from the point of view of the founder?
For the society to sustain its growth.
The society to have all dental students as members and every student enrolled from their first year.
To become the society of choice for students willing to excel academically, with their clinical skills, their future careers and CV development.
To build a base of alumni honorary members from former committees
To create a link between the society and consultants/Professors at the school, as the first ‘go-to’ page for students in regards to latest research, clinical tips, CV help etc
For all staff to also recognise the society and it’s mission, so for there to be a pool of staff contributing to the society via things like the blog, research opportunities for students and other such things. (Don’t feel limited by the research title of the society- anything to help development of dental students, do it!
For the website to reflect the history of the society from its inception, it’s mission and all committee members.
– Is there anything else you’d like to add for the readers of this blog?
No I think I’ve said enough! I take great pride to see how one idea formed whilst sat on the bus has come to fruition in such a successful way. With a new enthusiastic committee led by Ismail Khalil (4th year BDS), I’m positive even more exciting events are yet to come and I encourage all BDS and BSC students to get involved with the committee and their upcoming events.
Good luck all!