I'm a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery at Glasgow Dental Hospital and School. I balance that with being the Lead Clinician for my specialty, the Oral Surgery Training Programme Director for the West of Scotland, the Head of admissions for Glasgow Dental School, the incoming chair of the Oral Surgery SAC and Vice Dean of the Dental Faculty at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow.
I am also the founder, and one of the Directors of, Medics against Violence (MAV), a Scottish violence prevention charity.
Although this ties in with my research on alcohol and violence, I primarily founded MAV because throughout my training in OMFS centres, I had seen significant numbers of young people injured as a result of violence, and many people affected by domestic abuse.
I realised we were very good at treating their injuries, but we are not so good at dealing with the root causes.
The key to managing all this is being organised and making sure that I prioritise the right things at the right times. I am also fortunate to work with great teams of passionate and committed clinicians and nurses and very efficient administrative staff in the university, college and MAV and for me teamwork is key to everything.
I love being a clinician and feel it is a privilege to be able to treat patients.
My decision to work with the charity MAV was really borne out of this, and my dental training comes in really handy when it comes to trying to think of ways to prevent things – as in dentistry, we are all very focused on trying to head off problems before they become a big issue.
When it comes to dealing with the issue of violence you just need to think outside the box a bit.
MAV is a multi-professional organisation with volunteers from all branches of healthcare – it is based in Scotland and aims to prevent violence before it happens.
We take a public health approach to violence, we work in schools, often alongside the police, with young people to educate them about the risk factors and medical consequences of violence so that they are armed with information to allow them to make better choices.
The programme also trains dentists, doctors, vets, hairdressers, fire officers, students and many others, in how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse, and to be able to signpost people towards specialist help.
We've spoken to over 30,000 young people in Scotland and trained thousands of professionals to identify domestic abuse.
People sometimes ask me 'So, why is a dentist doing all this?' My reply is 'Why not?'
Volunteering can give you not just personal fulfilment and satisfaction, but also enables you to use the skills you currently have in new ways, as well as learning new skills too – I highly recommend it!
Senior Lecturer/Honorary Consultant in Oral Surgery/Sedation
Glasgow Dental Hospital and School
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