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June 2019 – Hoorshad Fathi-Kelly

Hoorshad Fathi-Kelly is a student at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry. Fathi-Kelly was the recipient of the 2019 Student Advocate of the Year Award. Fathi-Kelly received the award due to her contributions to advocacy for oral health research, which have included working with her university to support advocacy programming, enhancing advocacy awareness among her peers and becoming more involved in local advocacy activities and initiatives. AADR President Maria Ryan (pictured left) presented Fathi-Kelly (pictured right) during the 2019 AADR and FNIDCR Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.


1. How did you first learn about AADR and what motivated you to join?
I learned about AADR my first year in dental school. I knew I wanted to be involved in research so I applied to the summer research fellowship program at the at the University of California, San Francisco and joined AADR.

2. What do you find to be the most valuable benefit of AADR membership?
I believe continuous improvement and education is important to all professionals so I like receiving AADR publications and I enjoy attending conferences to keep updated on current research. I was able to showcase my research from the Summer Fellowship Program at one of these conferences. The conference and Advocacy Day were excellent networking opportunities which helped me to build meaningful professional relationships.

3. What is the best way for other members to become more involved in AADR?
I would recommend attending events sponsored by AADR to anyone looking to get more involved. Reaching out to the local AADR Section could also be a good idea. Try to learn what are the goals of the current leadership and see if you can help. If you are passionate about a specific research area, then the IADR Scientific Groups and Networks is a great place to start.

4. You are the winner of the 2019 Student Advocate of the Year Award! What motivated you to get involved in advocacy and why do you think it is important? To further advocacy for dental, oral and craniofacial research, what activities do you participate in?
I have been involved in research and development for about a decade now. It didn’t take very long for me to realize the importance of communicating the value of my research to others and that it is particularly important for research funding. Funding is not continuous— often short term rather and can be in short supply — despite some research taking many years before it is ready to translate into the world. Advocacy is an essential component of promoting research to maintain or expand funding that helps solve our challenges. My first experience on Capitol Hill was invigorating and encouraged me to explore and grow local Advocacy.

Congressional staff seemed very interested in our research and I have been exploring whether it is possible to invite our district’s staff members to the University of California, San Francisco Research Day to broaden their exposure to our research. I think research increasingly benefits from more communication between those who perform research and those who are in control of research funding. As the first Advocacy Chair in the John C. Greene Society at the University of California, San Francisco, I have written newsletter articles to promote the importance of  advocacy and I am currently transitioning responsibilities to the next Advocacy Chair to continue to grow our local advocacy efforts and to continue student participation at the national level. 

5. IADR/AADR student members must join at least one Group/Network and may join up to a total of three IADR Scientific Groups/Networks at no
charge. You are currently part of three IADR Scientific Groups/Networks — why did you choose to be a part of all three? How has being part of multiple groups benefited you?

I decided to join three groups because of where I have been and where I would like to go. I studied materials science and engineering and obtained my Ph.D. from Alfred University, New York, before joining dental school. The Dental Materials Group is a natural fit for me as I am interested in the clinical aspects of dental materials. I am currently studying cement interactions with periodontal tissues to inform cement development and will be applying to a Periodontology Post-graduate program so I’m also interested in the Periodontal Research Group. I joined the Implantology Group because implantology is a natural union between the first two groups. I think it’s too early in my career to capture how I may benefit from all three groups, but I believe these three groups overlap with each other and with my professional history. I fully anticipate that being a part of all three groups will benefit me in ways I have yet to imagine.

Previous Article May 2019 – David Cruz Walma
Next Article July 2019 – Cameron L. Randall

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