Health & Medicine

Tuesday, 03 July 2018 08:34

The South African Dental Association Announces Dr Pusetso Moipolai As Its New President

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The South African Dental Association Announces Dr Pusetso Moipolai As Its New President

The recent appointment of a black African female as President of the South African Dental Association (SADA) - a leading professional dentistry membership body - strongly demonstrates the ideals of equality and inclusivity embraced by the organisation.

Dr Pusetso Moipolai was elected as President on 16 March 2018, during the association’s 30 member-strong National Council which was attended by members of the SADA board.

Currently working at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Pretoria North, Dr Moipolai served as SADA Vice President at the time of her election as President of the Association.

“I was shocked, but honoured, to have been elected. It never even crossed my mind as a possibility when I first joined the association in the early 1990s. Back then, all I knew was that I wanted to make a contribution to the field. That is my greatest motivator, to have a positive influence and make a difference.”

“Participating in industry discussions and advocacy to drive the profession, I knew that because I was coming from academic practice, I could provide a voice for education within SADA’s structures,” she explains.

She received her primary degree, BChD, from Leeds University in 1991, specialised in Prosthodontics at Wits, graduating MDent (Pros) in 2000. A highlight from this time was being a member of the Curriculum Development and Monitoring Team which won the University of the Witwatersrand Vice Chancellor’s Team Teaching Award for Curriculum Development in 2002. This achievement, coupled with her extensive experience in academic dental practice, led to her pursuing a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand, which she completed in 2012.

Over the course of her career, Pusetso has lectured both locally and internationally on issues ranging from temporomandibular disorders, root canal therapy and emergencies in the dental office, to fixed prosthodontics, risk management and dental materials.

Dr Moipolai highlights that there are still evident challenges within the oral healthcare industry relating to gender and racial equality and representation.

“With largely white male representation, there are many barriers for young, black women to overcome. Even as a specialist, it was an uphill struggle for me to stop myself from giving in to self-doubt or giving up when faced with such challenges. This is something I hope others will learn from - stand up, follow your dreams and make yourself heard,” she says.

Moving forward, Dr Moipolai hopes to guide SADA in expanding its transformation efforts. “The association has made significant progress in terms of structural transformation recently which can only have a positive impact. I want to see SADA grow to also become more inclusive across oral healthcare professions.”

“While the majority of our members are in private practice, I believe that it would make SADA more powerful and accessible if we also gave a voice to others in the industry – such as academic and public professionals with alternative expertise and from different walks of life,” she adds.

Describing herself as “just an ordinary girl, doing what others in her profession are doing”, Dr Moipolai says that she hopes to make those who have given her this opportunity proud and to serve as inspiration to others just starting out in their careers.

Published in Health and Medicine

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