Faculty in the Media:

Meet the Mentor – Dr Arthur Sham

In this issue, the Faculty Newsletter (NEWS) has a date with Dr Arthur Sham, who has been joining the Mentorship Programme for the past four consecutive years. Dr Sham now worked as a full time dentist and served as a voluntary dental officer in an NGO in his spare time.

Dr Arthur Sham with mentees at 2015/16 Mentorship Programme gathering

NEWS: When did you graduate from HKU Dentistry?
Sham: Class 2005

NEWS: Apart from Dentistry, did you acquire qualifications in other fields?
Sham: Due to my interests in science and health-related fields, I obtained BSc (Biological Science), MSc (Human Nutrition), Professional Certificates in Food Safety, MSc (Management)(Health Services Management), St John First-Aid and some paramedic training from St John Ambulance & Hospital Authority A & E Training Centre.

NEWS: Why did you choose Dentistry as your career?
SHAM: I am interested in clinical science. Dentistry is a rewarding profession and get satisfaction whenever you see people coming in with dental pain then leaving your clinic with a change of facial expression and mood after dental treatments.

NEWS: Why did you become a mentor? In what ways have you benefited from the programme?
Sham: Mentoring not only helps someone else in a powerful and rewarding way. Mentoring improves my awareness of learning gaps. It develops my capacity to give and take criticism. I also update my organisational and professional knowledge. It offers me an opportunity to pass on knowledge and experience, and it keeps driving me to learn.

NEWS: What would you expect from the mentorship programme?
Sham: I would like to help instill interests in Dentistry among the students, and I am willing to share my learning and work experiences with the next generation which lectures and textbooks may not have taught.

NEWS: What are you currently working on?
Sham: I am currently serving special needs patients regardless of their age and background. I also served as a voluntary dental officer in an NGO in my spare time.

NEWS: Have you encountered any challenging cases in your career?
Sham: I have encountered many difficult and challenging cases especially those medically compromised patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are prone to poor oral health and they have higher rates of cavities, periodontal diseases and tooth loss.

NEWS: Any special or memorable incident that you could share with us?
Sham: I was bitten till bled on my left index finger by a severe intellectually disabled patient while performing a scaling in late 2012, and I needed to attend the A & E Department at a public hospital for immediate treatment. Despite the injury, I had to perform dental treatments as usual the next day.

NEWS: What do you do in your free time?
Sham: I love to watch movies, drama, play ping-pong, chess, war games and doing charity work.

NEWS: Did you have any plans for the future?
Sham: I intend to pursue a doctorate degree in Dentistry in the near future. I plan to focus on three areas: contributing to the profession through meaningful and practical research, striving for clinical excellence, and giving back to the community whenever I can.

NEWS: Would you like to share some words of wisdom with the mentees?
Sham: Although we share the same undergraduate qualification, we all have different interests, skills, experiences and expectations. There is no single ideal career path for everyone. Choosing the wrong path may lead to dissatisfaction and disillusionment. They need to know their own interests and understand their own capacity. If dental students intend to practise general dentistry, they should be aware of the varieties and pathways that can be followed within a general dental practice setting. If they want to become a specialist, they need to know the possible routes for undertaking specialist training locally or overseas. They must understand the pathways involved in applying for specialist training and what may be expected from their resume. All in all, to be a fit and healthy dentist with work-life balance.

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