MDA Student Mentorship Program“Be Beacons and Change Lives”
A mentor is essentially regarded as a wise and trusted teacher or one who can help show the way; someone who “has been there, done that”. Mentors serve as role models, advisors, professional partners and above all, as reliable friends. Mentors can have a profound effect on someone new to the profession eg. dental students or dental graduates. Mentorship can therefore provide a platform for interaction and friendship between the mentors and mentees. It can represent the passing of the baton, so to speak. It brings meaning to the professional and personal lives of dentists, dental students and young graduates and can be a very rewarding experience for all.
As the dental profession moves forward beyond their role as content experts and oral healthcare provider, the value of soft skills, professional leadership, communication networking and building professional/personal networks through relationships with one another within and beyond the profession, become increasingly essential. In this regard, the Malaysian Dental Association has a vital role to play in its timely partnership with the Malaysian Dental Students’ Association.
Mission of the MDA Student Mentorship (M-SM) Program
- To offer opportunities of professional guidance to our future dentists (dental students/dental graduates) who are new to the profession
- To provide members a platform to share and engage in meaningful professional and personal development relationships through encouragement, inspirational role modelling and sharing of experiences and insights.
- To provide a vital link for dental students/graduates transiting to the dental professional world
- To provide channels for communication between dental students, dental graduates and dentists (including dental specialists)
- To obtain better value for all structured activities organised by the MDA for its professional members in terms of nurturing a more wholesome dental professional including organisational leadership, providing earlier exposure of the professional activities to the dental students, providing wider career path options for dental students/graduates who will be stepping into the professional world.
M-SM Mentorship Program activities
The activities will be derived from those organised by the MDA or specifically designed. The activities for participation will be aimed at
- providing opportunities for the development of organisational leadership (eg. MDA Conventions, MDA-MIDEC, community-based activities etc).
- providing opportunities for networking within and beyond the profession (eg. inviting/communicating with speakers and organising CPD activities)
- providing opportunities for strategic and creative-thinking skills eg. planning strategies for creating/shaping the future of dentistry (eg. Attending MDA Board/Council meetings together with mentors who are involved in these)
- providing platforms for sharing professional experiences (eg. attachment/internship or invitation to be with dentists in his/her clinic and see dentists/specialists in action)
- enriching professional relationships between the mentors/mentees (eg. by working together on projects such as oral health campaigns) and thus foster greater understanding between generations of professionals and among cultures.
- keeping up with the evolving dental education teaching young dentists of today for the future (eg. mentors attending dental students’ activities)
- sharing ethical and professional dilemmas (eg. via formal meetings/seminars/ or informal discussions during attachments in or outside the clinic)
Who can be a mentor?
Any member of the MDA who shares the aims and objectives of the M-SM Program and interested in contributing towards these aims will be getting the best value for his MDA membership. A mentor could provide the opportunities mentioned above in any way they are able to. As the Program develops into Phase 2, a professional profiling will be in place to help the facilitate mentor – mentee matching for similar interest and goals and in terms of being able to contribute to the aims above.
Who can be a mentee?
Dental students (undergraduate) and graduates/trainees who are keen to use this M-SM Program as a platform to develop his/her professional knowledge, skills, leadership skills with a mind to widen his/her scope beyond the academic institution/working place. Application for selection will be required. Applications will be vetted and selected by the committee for the M-SM Program. A nominal fee may be chargeable for selected activities.
What would be expected of mentees from their mentors?
Mentees having applied with their desired learning outcomes would be place in various committees and work under the chairpersons of the committees. As this is the first phase of the mentorship program, all mentorship activities begin with local organising committees. Because the mentorship program is aimed at developing the various aspects of the student, commitment and dedication are prerequisites. Throughout the mentorship program, the mentees are encouraged to communicate, discuss with and receive feedback from their mentors. Responsibility, accountability, integrity and communication skills are amongst some of the desired characters that this program hopes to take the opportunity to nurture in their mentees.
What would be expected of mentors from their mentees?
Mentees can expect from their mentors, guidance through role modelling of leadership, teamworking and collaboration and to be exposed to some strategic/organizational skills.
MDA Mentorship CommitteeChairperson – Professor Khoo Suan Phaik
Dr. Ibrahim bin Shahruddin
Dr. Yeoh Oon Take
Dr. Choo Wan Ling
Dr. Gan Peijun
Dr. Lee Wan Xiu
Dr. Lim Ciu Xuan