I should have accepted the invitation without hesitation. But I initially thought of declining the invitation. I had a lot happening in the same few months and I don’t like taking too much time out of the practice. I had already committed to giving a talk at the British Orthodontic Conference as well as two hands on sessions at the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and I had an invitation to speak at the first ever Tunisian Lingual Orthodontic meeting.
But, of course, I ended up going to Harvard. Why? Because of the awe which I encountered any time I mentioned the Harvard speaking invitation – henceforth to be known as HSI. If I happened to mention the HSI, the response was an overwhelmingly positive wow. This convinced me that I really wanted to accept and I would just have to balance all the demands on me.
Once I was in the USA, it wasn’t hard to see why Harvard induces such awe. I was speaking in the University School of Dental Medicine which is in Boston.
The next day I went to the main university campus and I was so impressed by the scale and grandeur of all the facilities. Just being there makes you feel quite special.
This was reinforced by the faculty members who looked after me so well, Dr Keles, Dr Masoud and Dr Katabi. There were other highlights too. The first was lecturing to the orthodontic residents. Next I was able to experience the Harvard style of teaching. Residents from all three postgraduate years were in the class together, presenting their clinical cases. They use a variety of systems which was interesting to me. In my day at GKT it was labial braces only!
While in Boston, I went to visit the ‘Cheers’ bar of TV fame and also taken to see an American football game between Harvard and Dartmouth. I am so glad I accepted the HSI. On coming back to the UK I had two letters of which I was very proud. One was from the Director of Orthodontics at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Dr Masoud, who thanked me for lecturing to the students, adding: “They are richer for the experience and will be able to add another treatment option to their toolbox in the future.”
The other briefer letter was from my two daughters welcoming me home and telling me they had missed me. My trip ended as it had begun – with the word WOW! I can’t ask for much more, can I?