Boasting every Doctor of Dental Medicine and BDSc graduate as a member, the UWA Dental Alumni Society offers many wonderful opportunities for reunions, fundraising and support.
UWA Dental Alumni Society President Dr Gwen Chin is understandably excited about the society’s upcoming plans. Together with volunteer committee members Drs Meheransh Chopra, Raphaela Varajao, Amit Gurbuxani, Janina Christoforou and EeMay Cheung, the society is planning a number of initiatives and events for 2022, including reunions, fundraising and support for students.
Reunions are always a highlight of an alumni society, and the UWA Dental Alumni Society is no exception. Gwen says the alumni’s first event for 2022 (a reunion for final years from 1997 to 2001) in February was a great success. “We had maximum capacity, which was 40 people because of COVID-19 restrictions, and the venue was lovely, with food and drinks in abundance,” she says. As well as an opportunity to connect, the reunions also have an educational component.
Gwen hopes to be able to arrange a cohort reunion every year. Alumni should join the UWA Dental Alumni Facebook group for reunion and event announcements, facebook.com/groups/105858246147147
Fundraising for the UWA Dental School is a key focus of the alumni society, and Gwen says the current goal is raising funds for the Clinical Skills Simulation Lab. “Most of the phantom heads at Optech are old and are not a good functional apparatus to train with. For us to begin training in treating patients, this is where the foundations are laid,” she says. “We want to focus on raising funds for this purpose to give dental students a good foundation to start their journey into the profession.”
As well as fundraising through events, Gwen says members of the alumni have been generous when it comes to supporting students. “During the pandemic some of the students were really struggling and we had alumni donate iPads to a couple of students,” she says. “We are not a rich society so fundraising is the forefront of our agenda, but the alumni also tries to help in small ways when we can.”
Gwen says the alumni aims to help students navigate the transition to graduates, so they try to form networks to reinforce the bonds between the alumni and students. In collaboration with ADAWA, the alumni is planning an event for final year students to connect the students with different aspects of dentistry, including country dentists, government dentists, private practitioners, specialists and volunteerism groups. “I refer to it as ‘the speed dating event’, because it will be an informal eventing when students are split into a group of about six to eight people and they meet with a group,” Gwen says. “After about 20 minutes, the group of students moves to the next group of dentists, so they get the opportunity to connect with everyone.”
There are also plans for other events to connect students and alumni throughout the year.
If you haven’t connected with the alumni for a while or if you would like to find out about donating to the Clinical Skills Simulation Lab, Gwen invites you to touch base. “They say no man is an island and in dentistry it can get very lonely if you are not involved in some way, shape or form,” Gwen says. “It’s a meeting of minds – connecting with others who share similar experiences in this community that we live in.”
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