by Anne Marie Glenny
The University of Manchester has three core goals: world class research, outstanding learning and teaching, and social responsibility. We often acknowledge the work we do in terms of teaching and research, but staff and students within the School of Dentistry also do a great deal in terms of social responsibility. Earlier this year, a project led by Dr Raj Ariyaratnam (SeniorLecturer in Oral Medicine/Specialist in Oral Medicine and Oral Surgery) reached the final of the Talloires Network’s MacJannet prize for Global Citizenship. This prestigious prize recognises exceptional student community engagement and community service across the world.
Manchester’s project, entitled ‘Humanising Dentistry’, integrates service learning throughout the curriculum with the aim of combatting dental health inequalities. Since 2006, 900 Manchester dental students have treated 38,720 paediatric and 140,800 adult patients in the most deprived areas of England. Manchester Dental School was one of seven shortlisted projects from across 240 universities from 62 eligible countries. This is an incredible achievement for which staff and students involved in the project should be very proud!
I should probably also highlight the fact that Dr Raj Ariyaratnam was presented recently with a Teacher of the Year Award, in recognition of his exceptional commitment to service learning. Only three of these awards are given each year within the University (one within each Faculty) this really helps raise the profile of our teaching within the University – congratulations Raj!
Overseas voluntary work
Alongside the Humanising Dentistry project, many of our students undertake overseas voluntary work – again, something of which we are very proud. This summer, George Kitsaras, a 2nd year PhD student with Professor Iain Pretty at the Colgate-Palmolive Dental Health Unit, travelled to Uganda with three of our undergraduate students (Sara Member and Sophia Signorini (Year 1 & Year 2 BDS) and Nia Harris (Year 2 BSc)).
As part of their work they travelled to the north of Gulu, near the border with South Sudan, where they visited a primary school and a local health centre. Here they saw 480 children aged 7 to 15 years, delivering an oral health education package with an interactive tooth brushing element. Apart from the outreach, the BDS and BSc students spent time at the Regional Referral Hospital where they shadowed and assisted local staff. Work aside, the students also had the opportunity to go on a two day game and water safari in the Murchison Falls region, to the North East of Uganda.
I know the students find the volunteering projects both educational and enjoyable, and often return with memories that will stay with them throughout their careers. Ryan Cooper (2nd year BSc Oral Health Sciences) also demonstrated how our students go that ‘extra mile’ by running a 90km ultra-marathon in South Africa. He raised just over £1500 for the Cleft Lip and Palate Association and was able to complete the 90km race in 11hrs 23mins.
At the start of the summer I was lucky enough to attend our Graduation Ceremony. Graduation is always such a lovely day in the academic calendar. This year we were blessed with glorious weather which made the marquee reception and prize giving even more enjoyable. Congratulations to all our students from the Class of 2018!
Alan and Ray retire
At the beginning of the summer we said goodbye, sadly, to Alan Jack and Ray Richmond. Both Alan and Ray have been valued members of the Dental School for a phenomenal 37 years! They have been integral to the teaching of dental technology to our students, as well as taking on numerous other teaching roles throughout the years. They have both been such familiar faces around the School that it’s strange not seeing them around, but hopefully they’re both enjoying a very happy retirement.
Paul Coulthard London bound
The summer brought further sad news for us in that Professor Paul Coulthard announced he will be leaving Manchester to take up a new role as Dean and Director of the Dental School at the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). Exciting for Paul, but a big loss for us.
Over recent years the University of Manchester has developed Memorandum of Understandings with Dental Schools in Boston (US), Hong Kong, Nippon (Japan), São Paulo (Brazil), and Wuhan (China). Through these links, our undergraduate and postgraduate students have the opportunity to take part in international exchange programmes.
For example, this summer we had four students visiting from Boston and two students from Tokyo and Niigata, Japan. Dr Neil Patel (Lecturer/Specialist in Oral Surgery) is fundamental to the success of these exchange programmes, ensuring that visiting students have an exciting programme of events, highlighting our clinical, teaching and research activities. We obviously make sure they get to see the sights of Manchester too!
This year, Carly Dixon (Lecturer in Paediatric Dentistry) accompanied four of our 4th Year Students to Boston University, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Boston’s flagship teaching is in Digital Dentistry and the students (Helena Stanway, Lauren Smith, Niall Mcinnes, Nicole Wainwright) had the opportunity to learn about the variety of applications. They also designed and milled their own crown, milled in just 7 minutes!
During their two weeks in the US, they also managed to squeeze in a Red Socks Game and a trip to Cape Cod. We’re exceptionally proud of our students. They participate in so many activities outside of the core curriculum and are fantastic ambassadors for the School. In September this year, Manchester students took both 1st and 3rd prize for the undergraduate poster presentations at the British Society for Paediatric Dentistry conference, held in Dundee. There was lots of really excellent feedback for our students rightly so!
Back home in autumn
You may be aware that, for the past few years, the School of Dentistry has been situated in temporary accommodation. This autumn we finally move back into Coupland III. The refurbishment has been a major undertaking but will provide us with a wonderful space to work and welcome all our students and visitors. If you’re passing, please take the time to call in – I’d be delighted to show you around our new School.