Alumni

Student Futures: Barts and The London 'Open Up' Project

The Annual Fund helped Sathyam Sharma, a third-year Dentistry student, carry out his project 'Open Up’' He told us about his project and how the generosity of alumni donations has made a difference to his university experience. 

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"My team and I wanted to explore the dentists’ levels of confidence when interacting with patients with suspected or reported mental health conditions. We ran several surveys and focus groups to identify reasons for the lack of confidence in dentistry students and brainstormed possible solutions. We were able to present our results at multiple academic conferences as well as compete at presenting our research poster (Posters of Parliament 2019 - 3rd place). As a result of our findings, we began an intervention workshop called 'Open Up'.

"The workshops have been delivered alongside a trained psychiatrist to Barts and The London dental students and ten different schools around the country. The success of our workshops has allowed us to carry out further research and present our findings at this year’s national Barts and The London BDSA Conference. Not only has our project report been published but it has been a part of multiple dental schools’ curriculum. I hope that the success of our project will inspire other dental students to start their own projects like this.

"Each expense funded by the Annual Fund raised the profile of our project, gained staff support and helped connect with people who can help with our next steps. The award enabled us to buy promotional materials which made a huge impact when it came to marketing our workshop. We also attended the 2019 Association of Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) Conference which was an incredible opportunity to network with other UK dental schools. These connections were invaluable in helping us develop our project further.

"We received excellent feedback from students and staff who benefitted from the project:

'Refreshed my understanding of mental health and its relationship to dentistry.'

'Great conversations and enlightening communication skills which can be put into practice with patients.'

'Mental health is not something we talk about daily, exposure to these hard topics help.'

"The Annual Fund allowed our project to gather the attention it needed to then get off the ground and create real impact. Without support from our alumni, this project would never have been able to benefit not only dental students but have a positive knock-on effect on the wider university, the NHS and the general public.

"I would like to thank our generous alumni who donate to the Annual Fund. We truly believe we are benefitting others with our workshop, so to know that we have your backing makes our success all the sweeter. Thank you once again!"