I am in the process of setting up a Young Dentist Group (YDG) for South Mercia. This covers Northampton, Milton Keynes, Reading, Oxford, Windsor and High Wycombe.
The idea to re-establish the YDG began when I wanted to become more involved with the BDA and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to build a platform for other young dentists, like myself, to network, and learn new skills.
Here’s my experience of setting up a new group, which I hope will help others who might be thinking about starting one in their area.
What do you need to do first?
The first stage involved finding out who I should contact to find out more information. I was aware that there was a very well established South West YDG already but I was unsure which other groups were active in the area.
This was made easy by the BDA website as it had clear instructions on how to set up a group and who to contact. I got in touch with Sue Jones, the BDA’s Branch and Section Liaison Officer, and she replied in detail, giving me information about the geographical areas of different YDGs the BDA has current.
The South Mercia YDG was no longer active and I decided I wanted re-establish this group. We now have a functioning committee, after a selection process, involving local dentists who expressed an interest in getting involved.
How do you contact other local dentists?
The whole process was a lot less complicated than I anticipated. I had a lot of support from Sue from understanding which to re-establish to choosing a committee. She was a great help in sending out emails to the young dentists in the corresponding area, which detailed the roles that were available on the committee.
What will our YDG be doing next?
The South Mercia YDG is in its early stages, but already I have been in touch with the new Chair of the South Mercia Group.
We will be officially launching the group at the next meeting in September. After this, we hope to plan a schedule of events that will offer lots of opportunities for young dentists to learn, network and get engaged. Watch this space!
What did I get out of it?
I have found it to be an enjoyable process so far and I would recommend to anyone thinking about establishing a YDG, to not feel intimidated.
Furthermore, setting up a YDG can be very rewarding and a great way to learn. It has helped me put my time management skills into action: if you set up a YDG, you will be the first point of contact and therefore you need to find the time to make sure you can respond to emails, and you have the time to commit to what it entails.
I think you also have to be proactive and have a passion for making a difference.
Thinking about setting up a new YDG in your area?
There are a number of YDGs that are well established and already have lively programmes of events and activities.
If you are interested in getting involved, check on the BDA website first, you will find information about your local branch, guidance on how you can get involved and the point of contact for the group.
If you find that there is no YDG in your area, then I would strong encourage you to set up your own! Get in touch with Sue at the BDA and she will be more than happy to help and advise you.
Chair, BDA South Mercia Young Dentists Group
BDA branches and sections
BDA branches and sections are your chance to get engaged in dental politics at the local level and to interact with colleagues from all spheres of the profession.
The groups organise a varied programme of educational events on both clinical and general topics, plus social events, to help dentists keep up-to-date with their learning and to meet with colleagues: find your local group.