BDA Young Dentists Committee member, Amaar Hassan, has recently taken on a new role as an academic clinical fellow at the St Helens and Knowsley NHS Teaching Hospitals. He explains his role and why he's passionate about doing research in dentistry.
My alarm goes off….
I am based at the Department of Health Services Research, at the University of Liverpool. I get the train down to the dental hospital and this keeps me active at least for two days a week!
I'm responsible for…
I'm the first Primary Dental Care ACF in Liverpool, so I feel I have an important responsibility for promoting research in primary care across the Merseyside region, and also nationally.
This is a new role, with only around a dozen ACFs in Primary Dental Care across the UK currently. These jobs have been created to encourage dentists to undertake more research in primary care and I will be spending 25% of my week doing research and 75% doing clinical training.
I got the job
I have found it difficult (like many other young dentists) with the current NHS contract for dentists, the fear of litigation and level of stress - I wanted a job that challenged me, gave me career progression.
Imagine if your research changed the way dentistry was delivered across the world!
I was flirting with the idea of speciality training, but this position became available and was lucky to get it. There is a wider scope of research in primary care rather than just other specialities, which I really wanted to explore.
My typical day
I spend two non-clinical days in the University. I am currently looking at what proportion of those that suffer with dental abscesses (and dental sepsis) develop cardiovascular disease compared with the population.
I work in the Waterhouse Building which is beautiful to look at and rich in history; this was previously the old Liverpool Royal Infirmary during the war. A Netflix series `The Irregulars' a group of street urchins who solve crimes for Sherlock Holmes (played by Dominic Cumberbatch) is going to be filmed here, so that's quite exciting!
Three days a week I work in general practice to keep my clinical skills up to date. The salary I receive is similar to dentists that are undertaking speciality training. I find this a really useful role, as I can keep my clinical skills up to date and provide dentistry without having to work under the pressures of the current system and the NHS contract.
The worst part of my job…
It's a clinical training job, which means there is a lot of paperwork: I have to develop an online portfolio full of case-based discussions, clinical observations, feedback from peers, evaluation exercises, and I have a yearly appraisal.
The best part of my job…
I find the research element stimulating, becoming an expert in a particular field is something that excites me, but I appreciate it's not for everyone!
We are given a study budget, a research grant and up to 30 days study leave meaning there are lots of opportunities to develop skills, and I do enjoy attending conferences and courses.
What's your biggest achievement to date?
I've only been in the position just over three months, but I have already had a poster presentation accepted at a study day, submitted an article in a peer-review journal, and I have been developing research ideas for a grant, so things have been progressing very quickly!
I have a love for music recently seen Radiohead, Bon Iver, the Wombats, Elbow, and Lewis Capaldi at live concerts. I am a big foodie and have probably been to every restaurant in the whole of Liverpool; my favourite recent one is Bundobust, which is a vegetarian Indian tapas cuisine.
I am also studying for an online Masters in Public Health at the University of Aberdeen, it's a massive topic when it comes to primary care research.
My Plan B
I studied Biochemistry as my first degree and I was considering becoming a chemistry teacher or starting a PhD before getting into dentistry.
So, it seems fitting that I can still apply for a doctoral fellowship even as a dentist!
Amaar Hassan, Academic Clinical Fellow &
BDA Young Dentists Committee Member
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