Glasgow Dental Alumnus Association – the Phoenix rises.

Issued: Tue, 10 Jun 2014 15:07:00 BST

An exciting time has come for the Glasgow Dental Alumnus Association (GDAA) – now you may be wondering, what is the GDAA? It would be unsurprising if some of those reading this have never heard of the GDAA. It has been nearly a decade since this organisation was active. The GDAA was formed in 1979, the Centenary of the Glasgow Dental Hospital and School. The Association met annually and played an important role in establishing the Glasgow Dental Education Centre (formerly known as the West of Scotland Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education) in 1985. Unfortunately with time, the attendance at the Annual Dental Alumnus Association Meetings dwindled and since 2004 it has ceased to meet. As you may be aware the Dental School has been active in re-invigorating alumni activity, and as part of this overall drive it was thought essential to re-instate the activities of the GDAA. Wednesday 19th March 2014 saw the first meeting of the Glasgow Dental Alumnus Association Steering Committee. The committee has been established to lead the resurrection of the Glasgow Dental Alumnus Association. The committee is chaired by David Still (President) and its members include Jeremy Bagg, Irene Black, John Craig (Glasgow Dental Educational Trust representative), John Gibson, Thomas Lamont and William McLean.

One of the first public reappearances of the GDAA was as a co-host of the Glasgow Dental School Research Open Evening, held in the fantastic Wolfson Medical School Building on University Avenue. This evening was intended to update Alumni on Glasgow Dental Schools’ current research and how it is impacting upon the health of patients. It was also an opportunity to catch up with friends and staff of the School.

The evening was entitled ‘From Biofilms to Childsmile’, and presentations covered topics including childrens’ oral health, head and neck cancer, and the role of infection in oral and systemic disease, together with novel approaches to clinical management. Jeremy Bagg and David Still welcomed Alumni and guests. David announced the re-launch of the GDAA after its near decade long hiatus. Lorna Macpherson, Director of Dental Research presented an overview of the exciting progress that has been made in research in the Dental School. Lorna described how research has been consolidated into two strong research groups, Community Oral Health and Infection & Immunity. This has ensured critical mass and interdisciplinary expertise within each area and increasing interaction between the two groups. The total research budget for research in the School now stands at approximately £7Million. Some of the lead researchers then presented short insights into the projects currently being undertaken. At the end of the evening the guests had the chance to meet the clinicians, scientists and students who are involved in the research at the informal poster presentations and drinks reception that followed.

Those, that had attended expressed how much they had enjoyed the evening. They were interested to hear what their Alma Mater has achieved and the plans for the future. It was great to see the genuine excitement amongst the guests for the re-invigoration of the GDAA after such a long break. Alumni development is now flourishing at the Dental School under the direction of William McLean (Lead for Alumni Relations and Fund-raising) and is being supported by development of a School wide initiative in recognition of the importance of maintaining strong links with the Alumni. It is sometimes difficult to keep abreast of all that is happening with the Alumni group and so a dedicated web (LINK) area has been developed which will feature the latest news on GDAA and alumni activities. Also, as you may be aware the Dental Mirror has been re-introduced (available on the Dental School Website at LINK). If you have missed some of the recent news and wish to be included in future mailings for the Dental Mirror or Alumni Events please contact Pamela Gibb at pamela.gibb@glasgow.ac.uk