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Periospectives October-December 2015 : Page 12

MOVING FORWARD Periodontal educators move the profession forward Periodontal educators are responsible for shaping the next generation of periodontists and ultimately helping to advance the specialty. Periospectives talked with three periodontal educators about their decision to pursue academics, how they made the transition from student to teacher, and what they find rewarding about educating future periodontists. Keerthana Satheesh, DDS, MS Dr. Satheesh is a board certified periodontist and currently serves as the Director of Advanced Education in Periodontics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City – School of Dentistry (UMKC-SOD). She started her career in 2003, teaching pre-doctoral students and residents at the UMKC-SOD. She is an associate professor with tenure and will begin her most recent appointment as Chair of the Department of Periodontics on June 1, 2016. In addition to her role on various UMKC-SOD committees and research projects, Dr. Satheesh, a recipient of the UMKC’s Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award, maintains a private practice devoted to periodontics and implant dentistry in Overland Park, Kansas. What encouraged you to seek an academic career? I had the opportunity to learn from great teachers from elementary school through dental school and in the Advanced Education Program in Periodontics at the University of Minnesota. I always wanted to give back when I finished school. Working in an academic setting gives me the opportunity to work with peers from different specialties and students from different backgrounds. It always keeps me on my toes. What helped you make this decision? The Advanced Education Program in Periodontology at the University of Minnesota helped me tremendously. We had a strong background of clinical and didactic courses and also excellent research mentors. As residents, we taught in the pre-doctoral clinic and in the preventive dentistry course which helped me obtain experience in clinical teaching. When I graduated from the program, I felt I was very well prepared for a career in academics. What’s your level of satisfaction at this point in your career? My career in teaching is now 12 years long. I am very satisfied with the decision I made. I have the opportunity to interact with great faculty here at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I enjoy learning every day as I teach. I was fortunate to receive a generous scholarship from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, which made it possible for me to attend the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Leadership Institute. The ADEA Leadership Institute gave me valuable tools to strengthen my skills and help me advance in my career. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by supportive faculty and mentors. What are some of the challenges that you personally faced after finishing your residency program? The challenges have not been difficult regarding pre-doctoral teaching, but as expected they are more formidable for the Advanced Education Program. Within months of being a resident I was supervising residents. I had set lofty expectations for the residents and myself whereby I had to learn to be flexible. I had to learn to step back and give residents more room to work independently. AAP Perio spectives | 12

Periodontal Educators Move The Profession Forward

Periodontal educators are responsible for shaping the next generation of periodontists and ultimately helping to advance the specialty. Periospectives talked with three periodontal educators about their decision to pursue academics, how they made the transition from student to teacher, and what they find rewarding about educating future periodontists.

Keerthana Satheesh, DDS, MS

Dr. Satheesh is a board certified periodontist and currently serves as the Director of Advanced Education in Periodontics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City – School of Dentistry (UMKC-SOD).She started her career in 2003, teaching pre-doctoral students and residents at the UMKC-SOD. She is an associate professor with tenure and will begin her most recent appointment as Chair of the Department of Periodontics on June 1, 2016. In addition to her role on various UMKC-SOD committees and research projects, Dr. Satheesh, a recipient of the UMKC’s Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award, maintains a private practice devoted to periodontics and implant dentistry in Overland Park, Kansas.

What encouraged you to seek an academic career?

I had the opportunity to learn from great teachers from elementary school through dental school and in the Advanced Education Program in Periodontics at the University of Minnesota. I always wanted to give back when I finished school. Working in an academic setting gives me the opportunity to work with peers from different specialties and students from different backgrounds. It always keeps me on my toes.

What helped you make this decision?

The Advanced Education Program in Periodontology at the University of Minnesota helped me tremendously.We had a strong background of clinical and didactic courses and also excellent research mentors. As residents, we taught in the pre-doctoral clinic and in the preventive dentistry course which helped me obtain experience in clinical teaching. When I graduated from the program, I felt I was very well prepared for a career in academics.

What’s your level of satisfaction at this point in your career?

My career in teaching is now 12 years long. I am very satisfied with the decision I made. I have the opportunity to interact with great faculty here at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. I enjoy learning every day as I teach. I was fortunate to receive a generous scholarship from the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, which made it possible for me to attend the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Leadership Institute. The ADEA Leadership Institute gave me valuable tools to strengthen my skills and help me advance in my career.I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by supportive faculty and mentors.

What are some of the challenges that you personally faced after finishing your residency program?

The challenges have not been difficult regarding pre-doctoral teaching, but as expected they are more formidable for the Advanced Education Program.Within months of being a resident I was supervising residents. I had set lofty expectations for the residents and myself whereby I had to learn to be flexible. I had to learn to step back and give residents more room to work independently.

How do you inspire other residents and recent graduates?

I share my experiences with them. They hear about my successes and my failures. I encourage them to make the best possible treatment decisions and provide quality care for our patients. I strongly believe in having a very positive attitude while being humble at all times.

Harjit Singh Sehgal, BDS, MS

Dr. Sehgal is a board certified periodontist and serves as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), where he is actively involved in pre-doctoral and postdoctoral teaching. In addition to directing multiple periodontal courses, he has also developed a periodontology honors course to nurture selected dental students for a career in periodontics. An ardent researcher, his most recent studies are focused on curricular development, access to care, the perio-systemic connection, and special needs populations. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation (AAPF) fellowship award for the Institute of Teaching and Learning, which helped him to further hone his teaching skills. He was nominated and awarded as a finalist for the OHSU Faculty Senate Award for Teaching, which is awarded once every five years to a dental school faculty member.

What encouraged you to seek an academic career?

My initial exposure to teaching was during a one-year internship after dental school, then as a periodontal resident, and subsequently as an adjunct faculty position at the University of Minnesota. My greatest motivating factor to pursue an academic career was my periodontal residency program director.

What helped you make this decision?

My desire to help shape the future of our specialty and to stay at the scientific forefront helped me make this important decision of my professional life. I also believe that being in academics provides a sense of respect in the eyes of fellow professionals and patients. I find this experience very fulfilling.

What’s your level of satisfaction at this point in your career?

I am very satisfied at this point in my career having a variety of experiences in a stimulating intellectual environment. My contributions towards teaching, research, and service continue to motivate me in my professional growth as well as personal satisfaction.

What are some of the challenges that you personally faced after finishing your residency program?

Some of my greatest challenges deal with balancing my time between my academic and intramural patient care to overcome my significant educational debt, while still managing to devote time to my young family. However, a positive perspective, perseverance, and a penchant for following my heart have helped confront such challenges.

How do you inspire other residents and recent graduates?

Throughout my dental education I was motivated by many outstanding teachers and mentors who lead by example. My goal is to inspire the next generation of dentists and periodontists by first serving as a good role model. I always try to motivate my students to become knowledgeable and self-disciplined, to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, and to help them achieve beyond their perceived limits.

Robert Durand, DMD, MS

Dr. Durand is currently Co-Chief of the Section of Preventive Dentistry, Periodontics, and Public Health and an Associate Professor of Periodontics at the University of Montreal/Faculty of Dental Medicine. He teaches periodontics and oral implantology at both undergraduate and graduate levels in the General Practice Residency program at the University of Montreal. In addition, he maintains a private practice limited to periodontics and implantology in downtown Montreal. Dr. Durand obtained his DMD degree from the University of Montreal in 2002. He later obtained his specialty degree in periodontics from the University of Minnesota in 2006. His research interests include the connection between periodontal disease, dental caries, and systemic diseases as well as the healing process after periodontal and implant surgery. He has lectured both nationally and internationally and has published several articles in local and international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

What encouraged you to seek an academic career?

I was inspired by my program director and research mentor during my graduate periodontology training.As a part-time clinical instructor, I realized that I enjoyed helping students learn and advising my colleagues. Also, during my residency, I really enjoyed the intellectual stimulation that comes with conceptualizing and implementing research projects as well as critically reviewing scientific literature and interacting with colleagues on a daily basis.

What helped you make this decision?

I consulted with my thesis advisor, Dr. Bryan Michalowicz, and my program director, Dr. James Hinrichs. They both explained to me that while an academic career was not as lucrative as private practice, the emotional and intellectual satisfaction obtained from teaching and mentoring students was far more rewarding than money. Dr. Hinrichs and Dr. Michalowicz both seemed very gratified by inspiring dental students and residents to strive for their utmost best.

What’s your level of satisfaction at this point in your career?

I have been extremely satisfied with my academic position, being able to interact with undergraduate and graduate students, dentists, periodontists, and other specialists on a daily basis. I enjoy the stimulation that comes from collaborating with other faculty members and residents in other specialties, whether it involves research, administration, or teaching.Teaching helps me learn since I need to grasp concepts at a very high level in order to then teach a specific topic in periodontics. I enjoy the fact that the work schedule is flexible and avails variety in my career. Every day is different with most days including a positive learning experience.

What are some of the challenges that you personally faced after finishing your residency program?

Upon finishing my specialty program, I felt I was ready to put into practice the clinical skills I had learned, but ill-prepared to manage a practice on my own. Moreover, I sometimes felt isolated in private practice since many of my friends and past colleagues were practicing out of state. It was not easy to build a referral base as an internationally trained periodontist. However, after two years I joined the Faculty of Dental Medicine at the University of Montreal, back in my home country. When I started my tenure-track position, it was not easy to build a community of collaborators for research, and I had to start a new referral base for my private practice. It took me about three to four years to overcome these two challenges with the continuous support of my loved ones and colleagues.

How do you inspire other residents and recent graduates?

I believe a mentor or a teacher must be inspirational to students while pushing the limits of their theoretical knowledge and clinical skills. I strive every day through humor and collegiality to galvanize my students to provide high-quality care for their patients while maintaining outstanding ethical standards. By being easily approachable, either in person or by email, providing practical clinical tips and a bit of wisdom, I hope that they will appreciate their learning experience and gain confidence in themselves. To know that one recent graduate is thankful for my teachings and support reminds me that I have made the right choice to work in academia. Nothing is more rewarding than learning that you have helped a former student to become a greater and more mature professional.

Read the full article at http://onlinedigeditions.com/article/Periodontal+Educators+Move+The+Profession+Forward/2364755/286894/article.html.

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