Somanda reunion led to bigger prize

I graduated from Manchester Dental School in December 1988. In those days I was Fiona Brown.

After qualifying, I was one of the first years to complete a Vocational Training placement, which I did in Wythenshawe with my mentor Clive Feingold. I stayed in general practice after my Vocational Training year and worked in central Manchester, Wolverhampton and Stafford. Whilst working at Stafford, I developed an interest in Orthodontics, attended many courses and became a clinical assistant in Orthodontics at Kidderminster. I now work full time in Orthodontics, at Madeley in Telford and as a clinical assistant at Telford Hospital.

In 2010, I was part of one of the first cohorts to complete the British Orthodontic Society and Faculty of GDP’s Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics. I joined Somanda when my best friend from dental school, Jackie Doran (Pillai) suggested we go to our 25 year reunion in April 2013. Somanda organise a reunion every two years, so their team had contacted as many from our year and the year above as they could. On the day, despite their efforts, only four from our year attended! Also attending were graduates who had been qualified only one year, right through to those who had qualified many decades before.

The lecture in the Mandec Centre, built on the roof of the Dental Hospital, was excellent, and we were given a tour of the Dental Hospital by a current student. It was interesting to see how much had changed, e.g. the phantom head room was very different, and a great advancement was a live camera relaying clinical demonstrations to screens for the students; But not everything was different such as the common room! In the evening we enjoyed a formal dinner at the Midland Hotel.

A few months later I was contacted by Somanda, who informed me I had won one of the annual two prize draws each for £500 towards CPD courses. I was very surprised and delighted. There were many excellent options, but I chose to attend the Soho Symposium just before Christmas, an orthodontic lecture day in London with some eminent speakers from around the world.

These including Dr Kevin O’Brien who spoke about social media being both a positive influence, or when used unscrupulously, a negative influence on our patients. Bjorn Zachrisson from Oslo, another orthodontic legend, spoke about the three treatment options for missing upper lateral incisors. 1. moving the canines mesially to replace the missing laterals, 2. implants and 3. transplanted teeth.

Dr Monica Palmer from Berlin spoke of how to decide on difficult borderline cases, whether to treat with appliances only or appliances plus Orthognathic surgery. It wasn’t a cheap course, so but for the generous Somanda Prize, I probably wouldn’t have gone. I thoroughly enjoyed the day listening to these experts in their field, and picked up many pearls of wisdom. To those who haven’t been to one of the biennial Somanda days, I can thoroughly recommend them You should see some familiar faces, and you may even win a prize!

At the top is a picture of my dental year, taken in 1988. I’m the one on the far right. Second row down from the top. Fiona Hawkins

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