Interview: “Continuing education is an important part of our field”
The AEEDC Dubai 2018 Young Researcher Award has been initiated to acknowledge young talents in the field of dental science. By simply providing them with the deserved exposure, it allows young dentists to share their ideas, innovations and observations with world-class institutions and authorities in the oral health field. At last year’s AEEDC, Dr Zuhair Saleh Natto participated in the competition and won first prize with his presentation titled “Soft tissue dimensional alterations following ridge preservation with collagen matrix seal or collagen sponge with bone allograft: A randomized volumetric study”. In an interview with Dental Tribune International, Natto, who has already published more than 30 articles and book chapters concerning public health and dentistry and won several other awards, shared his experiences and provided some insight for those contemplating taking part in 2020.
Dr Natto, what is your background in dentistry?
I did my dental degree at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. Then, I did my doctorate in epidemiology, along with four master’s degrees in business administration, biostatistics, clinical research and microbiology/molecular genetics, at Loma Linda University and Tufts University in the US. My residency was in periodontics and implant dentistry, and I am a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. Now, I am a full-time periodontist and currently an assistant professor at the Department of Periodontology at Tufts University, the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology at Harvard University in the US, and the Department of Dental Public Health at King Abdulaziz University.
What inspired you to take part in the AEEDC Dubai 2018 Young Researcher Award and how was your submission received by the jury and audience?
AEEDC Dubai is one of the largest dental meetings in the world. I like to challenge myself. So far, I have published more than 30 articles and book chapters on public health and dentistry. In addition, I have received several awards, including an American Academy of Periodontology Foundation award, an International Congress of Oral Implantologists award, the best clinical science oral presentation award during the fifth Boston Postdoctoral Periodontal Research meeting at Harvard University and a Leverett Graduate Student Merit Award. The AEEDC Dubai Young Researcher Award is a major achievement in my career. It was an excellent experience and my submission was very-well received. My topic initiated the discussion of several aspects concerning site preparation. It was also a good opportunity to share ideas and opinions related to the topic.
What did you receive as first prize?
I received a commemorative plaque and a certificate at the AEEDC Dubai meeting in 2018. In addition to that, I won a trip to the USA to attend the Greater New York Dental Meeting (GNYDM). AEEDC has a yearly agreement with GNYDM to send the winner of the Young Researcher Award to attend the event including a return flight ticket and a 3-day-stay at a hotel. There, I received another commemorative plaque.
What advice would you give fellow dentists who would like to take part in the contest in the future?
Continuing education is an important part of our field. It helps us to develop ourselves and enhance our clinical skills. AEEDC Dubai is one of the meetings that will help you to explore new technologies, and therefore this is a good opportunity. Moreover, I recommend to my friends and peers to share their experience and knowledge though participating in poster sessions or oral presentations.
Thank you very much for the interview.