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Dentistry graduate Usama talks about helping dentists abroad

With an interest in Dentistry, Usama Riaz chose to study a Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Central Lancashire.

Before studying at UCLan, Usama completed a BSc in Biomedical Sciences after developing an interest in Dentistry when he completed work experience at a dental practice.

After graduation, Usama undertook a one-year training programme in General Dental Practice and then worked as an Associate Dentist for the NHS. Later, Usama gained membership to the Dental Faculties of the Royal College of Surgeons, England.

After receiving his Diploma from the Royal College of Surgeons, Usama joined the Dental Team for the UK charity, Humanity First, alongside his work and travelled to The Gambia with other dentists, hygienists, and technicians. Here they transferred their skills and knowledge and provided assistance in dental matters due to their being a skills shortage in the country.

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"UCLan has a lot to offer. Its unique setup prepares you well for general practice and you’ll feel ready to start dental foundation training. You will appreciate this once you qualify and compare yourself with the other graduates."

Usama Riaz, BDS Dental Surgery graduate

Talking about this shortage in dental education, Usama said: “If a patient had a jaw infection or cyst in The Gambia, they would have to go to another country to have it treated. During the time we were there, we operated on three such patients.”

Usama went back to The Gambia in 2017 and 2018 where he met his team’s goal of turning it into an annual trip to continue the support to local clinicians and help them become independent. So far, Usama has fundraised over £20,000 for the Humanity First project.

When asked about what advice he would give to those wanting to do something similar, Usama said: “UCLan has a lot to offer. Its unique setup prepares you well for general practice and you’ll feel ready to start dental foundation training. You will appreciate this once you qualify and compare yourself with the other graduates.”