Speaker Spotlight: Dr. Misagh Habibi
I finished Dentistry at UWA (Perth) in 1999 and started work in private rural practice. Dealing with everything from pros to wisdom teeth to trauma at the hospital, I had to learn quickly. I gained early mentored experience in minor oral surgery. I went onto a Grad Dip in Sedation at Sydney Uni, and sedation ended up being a major part of my daily work. I delved into a year of implantology training programs in 2008, and got hooked in that discipline. Since then I’ve focused my continued learning and practice in implants, along the way gaining an MSc (Oral Implantology) and Fellowship and Diplomate status of the ICOI. I currently practice implants and perioplastic/dentoalveolar surgery full time. As a sucker for punishment I’m also undertaking a P/T PhD focusing on a novel biomaterial development.
I teach for 3 organisations: Goethe University Germany for its Master of Oral Implantology program, The Implant Institute which is my initiative in cooperation with other colleagues in Australia, and the Cambridge Academy of Dental Implantology. We deliver a comprehensive PGCert and PGDip (Dent Imp) program (UK Award) to Australian dentists, as well as other training programs.
What made you interested in teaching and becoming a lecturer in your given area of interest?
I’ve always enjoyed teaching, talking shop and sharing skills. I’m passionate about delivering information in a way that the student can understand and become empowered to build further learning on. This stems from a desire to deliver learning in a way that I would want to learn. I find some programs speak so academically that it can be overwhelming to learn anything. At the other extreme, some programs can be naive to the complexity of what they are imparting, giving a false sense of confidence which proves harmful in clinical practice. Many fundamentals can be lost if glossed over, whilst teaching advanced details without learning “the big picture” fundamentals can also have limited outcomes. So I try to marry practical case orientation and science, taking into account pros and cons and complications of various situations.
Another motivation for me is to contribute to an open, encouraging and enjoyable dental community culture: Where we can avoid dogmatic opinions, and move away from petty motivators like competition or ego.
From a lecturer’s perspective, what can CPD Junkies do to get more out of CPD events they attend?
My advice would be that CPD Junkies should focus in on pertinent and valuable CPD opportunities rather than spread their energies too thin. It’s a great idea to keep abreast of developments in all aspects of dentistry, but ultimately you can’t master everything. At least I can’t! That’s why you see every great clinician has honed in on one or two areas of clinical practice.
In early years after graduation, it’s great to learn tips from all types of seminars and courses. But as you develop further, as there are only so many hours available in our busy professional lives, you have to pick one or two areas to try and learn in depth, and keep learning.
Don’t get fooled by short industry driven programs that purport to make you equipped to be a “master” of some aspect of dentistry. Attend more, learn more, and keep learning until you realise how much you have to learn!
What advice do you have for anyone hoping to become a speaker/lecturer?
If you have a passion for teaching that you’d like to contribute to the profession, focus first on continued learning and clinical experience. Gain postgraduate qualifications or extensive training in a given area, and get lots of clinical experience under your belt, so that your knowledge is also informed by experience. We learn most from our mistakes, but we can also learn from others’ mistakes. It generally takes about 10 years of solid clinical practice in a niche area to do that. It’s important to understand the science and benefits of different clinical methods, even those you don’t practice yourself – otherwise you become a biased educator. It’s also important to remain open to change and developments in the profession. Right now, with a plenitude of webinars and courses, many skilled clinicians almost feel pressured to be in the education game. It may not keep growing this way, as the industry may not sustain it. Think about what difference you would bring. Align yourself with good organisations, collaborate, and be a refreshing contribution to our profession by keeping your ego in check.