Interviews, Top News

We need to improve the dental health of our children; Prof Dr Amjad Wyne

Professor Dr Amjad H. Wyne is known as one of the pioneers of Pediatric Dentistry in Pakistan. Dental News recently spoke to him about his contributions to dental profession and representing Pakistan on International level.

By DN Staffer

After completing BDS from deMontmorency College of Dentistry, Lahore in 1981, Prof Dr Amjad Wyne joined Punjab Health Department. He was appointed as a demonstrator in his Alma matter, in 1985.  Later on, he moved to Australia for his Masters in Dental Surgery (MDS), Pediatric Dentistry. On returning, Prof Amjad shifted to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) after a brief stay in his home country. With his dedication and hard work, Prof Wyne slowly climbed up the ladder and became Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at King Saud University College of Dentistry (KSUCD).

In 1997, Dr Amjad received a Fellowship from the International Academy of Dentistry (FADI) and earned a Fellowship (FASDC) from American Society of Dentistry for Children in the same year. Later in 2018, Dr Wyne fulfilled his lifelong dream and obtained a Doctorate Degree (Dr Med Dent) in Pediatric & Preventive Dentistry from University of Greifswald, Germany. He jointly founded Pakistan Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (PAPD) in 2018.

Currently, Prof Wyne is the Head of Pediatric Dentistry Department, at Institute of Dentistry, Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Lahore Medical College. He is also part of editorial board in Journal of Pakistan Dental Association and Co-Editor of Pakistan Oral & Dental Journal in order to sustain his passion for spreading knowledge.

Dental News (DN): It is so nice to meet you Professor Dr. Amjad Wyne. First, please tell us about your educational background.

Dr Amjad Wyne (AW): Well, thank you so much for having me. I consider it an honor being interviewed by Dental News Pakistan, a medium which has kept us informed about dental fraternity in Pakistan and around since decades. I completed my BDS degree from deMontmorency College of Dentistry, Lahore in 1981. Then, obtained BSc Degree from the University of Punjab in 1984. I went to Australia in early 1988 and completed my MDS Pediatric Dentistry there. In 1997, I received a Fellowship (FADI) from International Academy of Dentistry. In the same year I obtained an earned Fellowship (FASDC) from American Society of Dentistry for Children. In 2018, at the age of 59 years, I fulfilled my long-time dream of obtaining a Doctorate Degree (Dr Med Dent) in Pediatric & Preventive Dentistry from University of Greifswald, Germany. So, it has been a life long journey of continuous teaching and learning for me.

I learnt a lot from experienced faculty working in KSUCD, trained from various parts of the world

DN: Prof. Wyne, now please tell us about journey of your professional career so far.

AW: Well, after graduation, I completed my Internship/House Job from de Montmorency College of Dentistry. Then, I was recruited in April 1983 by Department of Health through Punjab Public Service Commission. After couple of postings in Sub-Divisional Headquarter Hospitals including two and a half year in Civil Hospital Murree, I got appointed as Demonstrator in my alma mater. This indeed was a great honor for any young dentist in Pakistan. I decided to return to Pakistan after completing my MDS in Australia, in spite of excellent opportunities to stay and work there. I started working in my alma mater again with full determination to serve my country. However, I ended up working soon in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I am back to my country now and working as Professor and Head, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Institute of Dentistry, CMH Lahore Medical College.

I had little background in scientific research and writing…However, working with seniors helped me improve my scientific research and writing

DN: How come a person who came back after completing his Masters in early 90’s with full determination to serve the country, ended up working somewhere else?

AW: Actually, I was not alone in this situation. A whole bunch of my friends came back after completing their postgraduate trainings in various specialties abroad during the same period. We were all very enthusiastic and full of hope in changing existing old practices of undergraduate dental training. We were also keen to start new postgraduate training programs. But then most of us, soon started feeling resistance from the system and inability to implement and practice what we had learnt abroad. All of us except very few moved abroad midst severe disappointment. In my case, I had additional pressure from parents especially my late father that I must work and spend some years in Saudi Arabia.

DN: Tell us about your professional journey in Saudi Arabia.

AW: I started my job there as a Lecturer in King Saud University College of Dentistry (KSUCD), Riyadh, got promoted to Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and finally full Professor in due course. The promotion criteria (teaching load, publication points, research projects and community services) are very strict in KSUCD and includes international review of the promotion application by three referees. I think it was so fortunate to get an opportunity to work in KSUCD as a beginner in academia. I learnt a lot from experienced faculty working in KSUCD, trained from various parts of the world including North America, Europe and Australia.

PAPD is making efforts to train quality pediatric dentists in Pakistan to serve increasing oral health needs of our Nation’s children

DN: Were there any other Pakistanis with you in KSUCD?

AW: In the beginning, I had the honor of working alongside legendary educators like Dr. Bashir Zulqarnain (a North American qualified periodontist) and Late Dr. Mian Khalid Iqbal (a North American qualified Endodontist). Then, along the way, I was joined by my friends mostly from deMont like Dr. Khalid Almas (periodontology), Dr. Mohsin Ali (Proshthodontics), Dr Arham Chohan (Pediatric Dentistry), Dr Shahid Mahmood (Operative Dentistry), Dr Naveed Khawaja (Oral Surgery), Dr Irshad Afzal (Prosthodontics) and briefly by Dr. Muhammed Usman (Oral Surgery) and Dr Jamroze Khan (Prosthodontics).

From younger lot, Dr. Fahim Vohra and Dr Rashid Habib (both Prosthodontists) also joined there. I resigned from KSUCD in July 2018 due to personal circumstances, though I still had 11 years of possible service left.

DN: Tell us a bit about King Saud University (KSU) and King Saud University College of Dentistry (KSUCD)?

AW: The King Saud University is the oldest university in the Gulf Region with its main campus in Riyadh and satellite campuses in several other cities. The university has separate campuses for male and female students. The College of Dentistry started in 1957. The College of Dentistry (COD) is a large institution having more than 250 full time, faculty members. It has a five year BDS program, one year internship program and three postgraduate programs in eleven dental specialties. It has a 14 story Dental Hospital with state of the art treatment and educational facilities including separate operation theaters each for Oral Surgery and Pediatric Dentistry. The Pediatric Dentistry Department has separate units for postgraduate students and faculty practice. The department has special care facilities and special rooms for pediatric dental sedation. The department enjoys the services of dedicated team of anesthesiologists. Other than regular undergraduate and Interns’ training, the department runs three postgraduate programs; a three years’ Masters, a four year Doctor of Science and a four year Saudi Board clinical program.

DN: What was your contribution in KSUCD, in general and pediatric dentistry, in specific there?

AW:First few years were my learning years from my seniors. Once you feel confident, then it is time to contribute. In KSUCD, undergraduate pediatric dentistry curriculum is extensive. It starts with a half-year preclinical course in 3rd year, followed by full year clinical and didactic course in fourth year. It end with a full year clinical course in final year. I served as course director of all these undergraduate courses from time to time. I participated in developing three Years Master Program in Pediatric Dentistry in early nineties. I served as course director of various postgraduate courses in the Master Program. Then, I also taught in the four-year clinical training program named Saudi Board in pediatric dentistry started by Saudi Commission for Health Specialties. A four-year Doctoral program (DSc) was started in 2015 at KSUCD. I served as course director of various didactic and clinical courses of the Board and Doctoral programs in Pediatric Dentistry.

DN: Did you work in leadership/administrative positions.

AW: In Adelaide Dental School Australia, I worked as a member of the School Board representing postgraduate students for two years. In KSUCD, I was given responsibilities of directing various undergraduate and postgraduate preclinical, didactic and clinical courses. I served as Head of the Pediatric Dentistry Division, which had about thirty faculty members, with several units including undergraduate training, Interns’ training, postgraduate programs, pediatric dental sedation unit, special care clinics, community outreach program and comprehensive oral rehabilitation of pediatric dental students under general anesthesia. I also headed many academic committees.

DN: Tell us some more about your postgraduate teaching activities.

AW: I contributed towards writing the Master of Dental Surgery Program in Pediatric Dentistry. As a young academician then, I was given challenging tasks such as supervision of special care clinics and pediatric dental general anesthesia for postgraduate students. I was one of the pioneers in starting comprehensive oral rehabilitation of pediatric dental patients under general anesthesia there. I also directed almost all the postgraduate pediatric dentistry courses. I was also asked to contribute in some postgraduate core courses. I supervised several postgraduate students in their theses research projects. I was a member and/or Head in many research proposals and thesis Examination Committees. I served as Representative of the Department in Joint Council for Postgraduate Education of KSUCD for several years. I also served as Director of the Pediatric Dentistry Postgraduate Program for a three year term. I lead revision of the existing Master program and wrote the DSc Program in Pediatric Dentistry.

DN: Prof. Wyne; what about your research endeavors along the way?

AW: Well, as you know, like most of my contemporaries that time, I had no idea about what research was and why it was important for a health care professional. My first exposure to it came when in Adelaide Australia my clinical supervisor asked me to write an essay on serial extraction. I ended up presenting my essay without any reference to a classical or contemporary literature. Gradually, I started learning about research during my core courses on research methodology and bio-statistics. I was so fortunate to have a research supervisor like Professor John A Spencer (Ex-Editor of Journal of Community Dentistry & Oral Epidemiology) for my Master thesis. I started learning scientific writing from him. Then, I was also fortunate to work in Advisory Board of the same journal with Professor Brian Burt of Ann Arbor Michigan. Then, in KSUCD also, environment was very conducive for faculty research. I completed several funded research projects as principal investigator. I also participated as a team member in funded research projects. I have presented my results in national and international conferences. My work has been published in national and international peer-reviewed scientific journals. My primary areas of interest include dental caries in preschool and schoolchildren, pediatric dental sedation, oral health status of disable individuals, oral health of individuals with special care needs and oral health knowledge and practices in children and their parents. My two current projects include; “Genetic predisposition of preschool children for early childhood caries” and “Parental opinion regarding healthy weight screening/counseling by dentists”.

DN: Tell us about your journey in medical/dental journalism?

AW: It has been an exhaustive journey. I had no background in scientific research, and no idea of scientific writing, really had to struggle in this area. However, working with seniors gradually started having ideas of scientific writing. I was invited for manuscript reviews by scientific journals. Then impressed from my honest efforts in scientific writing and manuscript reviews, some editors started asking me to join their editorial and advisory boards in late nineties. Distinguished among these were my affiliation with leading international dental journal “Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology” and a regional journal “Indian Journal of Dental Research”. I am currently in editorial board of Journal of Pakistan Dental Association and Co-Editor of Pakistan Oral & Dental Journal. I am also affiliated with these journals since very long as an author and reviewer. I am a regular reviewer for most of our Pakistani journals. I also have close affiliation with Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences since more than a decade.

Wherever and in whatever position you work, do not forget that you belong to noble profession of health care

DN: What are your current activities in Pakistan?

AW: I am working in Institute of Dentistry, CMH Lahore Medical College as Professor and Head of Pediatric Dentistry. It is one of the main centers in the country that provides comprehensive dental care to pediatric patients including those with special care needs under local and general anesthesia. I am Founding President of Pakistan Academy of Pediatric of Pediatric Dentistry (PAPD), which is a sole representative organization of all pediatric dentists and those who have interest is providing oral/dental health care to children. We have Professor Dr. Hashim Khan, Professor Dr. Arham Chohan and Dr. Sajjad Ahmad as founder Vice President, General Secretary and Secretary Finance respectively.  

The PAPD was formed in August 2018 by a group of like-minded people with major objective of better oral health for Pakistani children. PAPD is making efforts to work with Pakistan Medical & Dental Counciland College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan to train quality pediatric dentists in Pakistan to serve increasing oral health needs of our Nation’s children. Considering that Pediatric Dentistry is now a major examinable subject in final year BDS Program, and that demand for qualified well trained pediatric dentist will increase in future, efforts are underway to gradually provide adequate number of faculty by starting Fellowship and Master Programs in the subject. In the international arena; Pakistan is now a Nation member of International Association of Pediatric Dentistry (IAPD) and regionally that of South Asian Association of Pediatric Dentistry. PAPD has already organized a one day seminar for general dental practitioners (GPDs) in Peshawar.

The plans are to provide Continuing Dental Education (CDE) to general dental practitioners through CDE programs at every Divisional Headquarters in our country. This is to enable GDPs to provide primary preventive and restorative dental care to the children of our Nation whose dental needs are on the increase. We all need to join hand to improve the dental/oral health of our children. I encourage all those who care about oral/dental health of our children to join PAPD and contribute towards betterment of treatment and prevention services for the children.  

Scientific research plays vital role in progress of a Nation

DN: Finally, any message to our younger generation of dentists in the country.

AW: Wherever and in whatever position you work, do not forget that you belong to noble profession of health care. If you are a general dental practitioner, always keep abreast with latest in the field. If you like to be a specialists, choose a specialty based on your interest and not on the amount of money you will make. Most importantly, no matter what your main interest is always save sometime for research (clinical, lab, field) and presenting your results to your colleagues. It is only through research that development of a profession, Nation and Country takes place.

DN: Thank you Professor Amjad Wyne for taking time to talk to us.

AW: It was all my pleasure. I am thankful to Dental News Pakistan Team for providing me with an opportunity to communicate with dental fraternity about myself, pediatric dentistry and most importantly dental health of our Nation’s children.

February 29, 2020

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