Karachi: Continuing the vision to empower women in dentistry and create awareness among them of the potential that awaits them, Dental News launched the 3rd International Women’s Dental Conference 2021 from 19th-20th February 2021. The conference was virtual/online-based, and all plenary scientific sessions were online live-streamed to the national and international audience of the forum. The forum was open to both genders, except that all the speakers were women. The presentations on various areas of general dentistry, educational leadership strategies and soft skills were held.
Dental News proudly collaborated as the media partners and enabled more than 500 participants to witness Pakistan’s top virtual dental event. Organised by MNC Marketing Services, Pharmatek collaborated in the conference as a platinum sponsor, and Shield Muskurahat sponsored the event. The conference was supported by the Pakistan Dental Association (PDA), Institute of Advanced Dental Science Research (IADSR) and International College of Dentistry (IDC).
The speakers stressed with an ever-increasing number of women entering this profession, the field is ready to be dominated by women in the foreseeable future. As such, every year, more and more women graduates with bachelors of dental surgery and go on to pursue specialised training, academics or clinical practice. The conference highlighted women’s innumerable achievements in dentistry, honour their accomplishments, and encourage newer, younger dentists to set big goals and pursue them.
The conference’s theme was ‘Rising impact of women in Dentistry’, where speakers from the UK, Turkey, Lebanon, Texas, Costa Rica, Egypt and Pakistan presented their presentations. The conference also included a live question/answer session with the speakers. The event was moderated by Dr Muattar Hanif, Assistant Editor, Dental News Pakistan.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the two-day conference recently, the chief guest of the meeting, Honourable First Lady of Pakistan, Mrs Samina Arif Alvi, said that the theme of women empowerment was very close to her heart. She said, “I have been very close to the profession of dentistry as being a wife to a dentist and mother of four young practicing dentists. I have managed Alvi dental clinic for more than 25 years, that’s why this profession is very close to my heart. Women are usually called as the backbone of the family, which I also believed is true. Women contributed majorly in the development of family and country. In our country, more than 50% of the population comprises of females.”
Chief Guest further said that it was her immense pleasure to announce that women’s political, social, and economic progression is celebrated at this conference. She quoted the famous saying of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you.”
The keynote speaker of the event, Dr Azmat Khan, congratulated the organisers for such a successful event and said, “My journey as dental professional has been a long one and I am grateful for that. Many people need to realise that everyone started from scratch and hence reached to the point of success after hardwork. One thing that I have learnt and stuck to all my life was being ethical in my practice and in my life. Today when I take my juniors along with me and I interact with them, and ask about their goals. It’s a pity that many of the young dentists are not that equipped with knowledge that they should be and it always bite us back. We need to incorporate ethics as a personal trait.”
Dr Benish Aleem, conference secretary, Assistant Professor, Khyber Medical University, said that as dentistry developed over the years, pioneering women broke traditional barriers for their gender and set the standards for the women who followed their path as dental professionals. She said, “It is delightful to see that the number of women in dental practices continues to grow, and the number of people who recognise the power of female clinicians and educators continues to increase. As clinicians, educators, service specialists, etc., the people who serve the dental profession include more women today than ever.”
Dr Monica Fumero, Dentist and Executive Coach, INCAE and Chairman of MLSC Committee, FDI World Dental Federation, spoke on the topic, ‘Matching my life purpose with my dental practice.’ She said that the challenges women face would always be challenges until someone stands to promote the changes they need to turn them into an opportunity. She urged that one should define life purpose, including all professional goals. The life purpose should be a theme or idea that exemplifies one key ideal in life. She also suggested that one should honour what they like to do and stay away from things that exhaust oneself.
Dr Joulia Jouni, Clinical Instructor and Resident in Periodontics, Beirut Arab University, Lebanon, spoke on the topic, ‘Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) and its role in Periodontal Regeneration. She said that PRF treatment is a strengthening procedure for the teeth and gums. It has been used widely in dentistry because it promotes healing and its ability to regenerate cells. In response to a query from participants, Dr Joulia said that the PRF procedure is safe. She also noted that PRF regeneration only involves drawing blood from the patient, making it highly beneficial.
Dr Ninette Banday, specialist restorative dentist and implantologist, Abu Dhabi, Academic Fellow, American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), spoke on ‘International career opportunities for dentists.’ She said that the young dental graduates’ opportunities are limitless abroad, both for dentists seeking educational opportunities and for employment ones. She said that going for specialisation should always be one priority.
Prof. Dr Ambrina Qureshi, Chairperson, Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, Principal, School of Dental Care Professionals, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS), spoke on the topic, ‘Community based dentistry-One Health Initiative.’ She said that regardless of the nature of the dental practice, dentists are interdependent with the environment. The dependency ranges from practising infection control to minimise the spread of diseases. The One Health Initiative should attempt to put in practice the recommendations of global movements and the commission in the education for health professionals for the twenty-first century by redesigning teaching for the future workforce.
Dr Sara Altamash, Assistant Professor, Altamash Institute of Dental Medicine and Clinical Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania, spoke on ‘Soft tissue in orthodontics.’ She said that soft tissue dominates the goals and limitations of orthodontics and orthognathic treatment. She stressed that one should always focus on the hard tissue paradigm more than the soft tissue paradigm.
Dr Nermin Tarhan, Vice Dean and Professor, Department of Periodontology, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, spoke on the topic, ‘The importance of early diagnosis of dequamative gingival lesions.’ She said that desquamative gingival lesions are different from periodontitis and gingivitis cases in terms of clinical features, aetiology and patient’s complaints. Speaking in response to a query from participants, she said that though there are not many studies sharing that SARS-COV-2 can cause desquamative gingival lesions, the auto-immune lesions of other nature can be raised.
Dr Saima Chaudary, Assistant Professor, Department of Oral Pathology, University of Health Sciences (UHS), spoke on ‘Women Dentrepreneurs.’ She said that entrepreneurship has an immense role in dentistry. She noted that feminisation has taken over the entire world. She also informed that in Pakistan, there are two female dentists for every male in the country. But the number of practising female dentists are extremely low. She said that the major cause had been social and familial control over women’s decision to pursue a career and traditional economic dependence on men.
Dr Kulsoom Fatima Rizvi, Vice Principal and Head of Department, Dental Section, Bahria Medical and Dental College, spoke on ‘Women Empowerment and Oral Health.’ She said that oral health should be changed from millennium development goals to sustainable development goals as done by the World Health Organization. The sustainable development goal comprised of Gender equality as one of its goal giving women equal participation by undertaking reforms.
Dr Saleha Shah, Head of Department of Paediatric Dentistry, Baqai Dental College, Baqai Medical University and Paediatric Dentistry Specialist, Alvi Dental Hospital, spoke on the topic, ‘Paediatric dentistry for special health care needs children.” She said children’s unique needs impact overall health and require specialised oral health care with knowledge, increased awareness, attention, adaptation, and accommodation beyond measures and higher expenditure.
Dr Sadaf Asrar, Head of Department of Oral Biology, Liaquat College of Medicine and Dentistry, spoke on ‘The impact of dental education in modern dentistry.’ She said that dental schools play a pivotal role as new technologies are evolving to facilitate dental students. Integrating research and discovery into the dental school curriculum can play a huge role.
Dr Marium Azfar, Associate Professor, Head of Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, Sindh Institute of Oral Health Sciences, Jinnah Sindh Medical University, spoke on ‘Women Empowerment in Dentistry.’ She said that mentorship would be a key in unlocking the potential of the best minds in dentistry. She said that we should want women to be inspired and ignited as they move up in the world. Women should know that they can do anything and can build a successful business and many more.
Dr Nahawand Thabet, Egyptian Dental Association and FDI World Dental Federation Councillor spoke on ‘Women’s Dentists: Changing the face of dentistry.’ She said that women dentists have always been part of history and making waves in dentistry. Women’s growth has started to show as they are slowly beginning to spread their wings and get stronger than ever before. She said that women are implementing many new concepts and mechanisms in their leadership style.
Dr Charlotte Stilwell, President-Elect of the ITI International Team for implantology, senior lecturer, University Clinic of Dentistry, Geneva and Examiner for the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh, spoke on the topic, ‘Demographics of women dentists in implant therapy.’
Dr Saima Butt, Dr Gul Askary, Dr Saman Hayat Soomro, Dr Saher Naved Khan, Dr Charlotte Stilwell, Members from Pakistan Association of Dental Students (PADS), including Manal Musa, Aneeqa Aslam and Wajiha Mazhar and Members of Pakistan Association of International Dentistry (PAID) including Dr Sana Mirza, Dr Bushra Khalid, Dr Javeria Sufyan, Ashba Ehtasham and Saba Gul were also part of speakers lineup.
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