In 2018, I had the great privilege to connect and work with a group of pediatric dentists in Nepal. I presented a seminar on pediatric dental trauma to the Nepalese Association of Pediatric Dentists and spent an additional week at the Kathmandu University School of Dentistry in Dhulikhel observing the Pediatric Dental Department, offering advice and making suggestions to improve the program, presenting daily lectures to the staff, and even learning a thing or two myself, before returning home to the U.S. I was continuously impressed with the young Nepali dentists’ eagerness to learn and apply any newfound knowledge I was sharing. This was, without a doubt, one of the most special professional trips in my career and I am happy to continue my relationship with this group to this day.
As 2020 rolled around and the COVID pandemic began to reshape our professional lives, I chose to attend the IAPD 2020 Virtual Conference in September. This was the first virtual event I had ever participated in. Since travel restrictions kept me from returning to Nepal that year, I hoped that some of my Nepali colleagues might want to join me for this meeting via a sponsorship arrangement. The response from Nepal was overwhelmingly positive and they jumped at the chance to associate and learn with other pediatric dentists from around the world. Because of the very thoughtful and generous conference fee structure developed by IAPD I was able to invite all the pediatric dentists in Nepal for a very affordable price. The event was a huge success and we all left with some great CE and many new professional contacts and friends.
These experiences were very insightful and allowed me to see how easy it is for a professional provider from a resource-rich country to make a big difference in the professional career of dentists from resource-limited areas. Many of us take for granted how simple it is for us to become members of professional organizations or to attend international professional conferences. Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality for many of our colleagues from around the world. Due to IAPD’s concerted effort to develop fee structures that are realistic for all pediatric dentists, regardless of where they are from or how much money they make, it’s relatively easy to provide support to our fellow practitioners that need it. This is a great opportunity to develop a pediatric dental network that is truly inclusive. I am currently planning to continue to give back this way, whether it’s a sponsorship for IAPD membership or for attendance to one of their conferences. With little effort we can make a significant difference in the career and life of our fellow dentists.
Matt Fisher, DMD, MS