Meeting Shafaq Hussain you will be struck by her huge smile and amazing positive energy. She is a highly experienced dentist of 20 years who is passionate about making a difference and improving the lives of others. Shafaq was recently appointed as Co-Chair, alongside Dr Molly Deykin, replacing Dr Ros Keeton whose term of office ended at the AGM in July 2023.
Shafaq’s unique perspective
Her own lived experience of being diagnosed early in life with Parkinsons, gives Shafaq a unique empathy for others who are facing challenging times.
“Being diagnosed might have meant I needed support from the Charity but I’m fortunate to have enough support from family. It did make me appreciate more what it does for others.”
Shafaq’s experience on the Board means that she can continue to contribute to the work of the dental community, whilst cutting back on her clinical role.
“I’m glad to be such a meaningful part of the dental community and to be able to help others. I’m part of the Grant making subgroup making decisions on applications and understand the desperate situations people are faced with and how important it is to help people who need assistance.”
The future of the Charity
The Charity is celebrating its 140th year and Shafaq believes it will be needed more than ever going forward.
“I believe there is a looming mental health crisis amongst dentists because of the current working conditions that get more challenging. This is something I’ve seen through my role on the Board, and also as a volunteer for Confidental. Dentists will need time out and might need to cut hours to cope. The Charity is there to step in to bridge financial gaps helping people to get well and stay well.”
Helping more people
Shafaq’s volunteering for City of Sanctuary UK also puts her in a good position to support the expansion of the Charity’s remit to help refugees and asylum seekers who were dentists in their home countries but who need support now they are living in the UK.
The Co-Chair Role
This is the first time the Chairman position at the BDA Benevolent Fund has been shared between two people. It was a deciding factor for Shafaq on whether to apply.
“I think the shared role will make a huge difference to the leadership of the Charity because it brings together the experience of two dentists at different stages of their careers and life. Molly and I have varied insights and working together will be hugely beneficial. It’s important for the Board to have as broad an overview as possible.”
Shafaq is an Associate at Cudworth Dental Practice and has promoted the Wellbeing Support for Dental Teams to her own practice, as well as raising the profile of the Charity at practice meetings, 1-2-1s, and in the wider BDA community at local Yorkshire events.
“I was surprised that some people hadn’t even heard of the fantastic work at the BDA Benevolent Fund and what is available for them. You have a good chance of knowing about the Charity if you are a BDA member, but dentists do not have to be a BDA member to access services.”
A public voice
Shafaq is experienced in being a public voice and gets involved with the following initiatives:
Patient-led videos that shine a light on long-term health conditions.
Here Shafaq talks about her dentistry and volunteer work, what might happen when dentists are faced with challenging times, and where to go for help.
It’s not all about work
When Shafaq isn’t busy working as a Dentist or an Advocate, she enjoys Nordic Walking, Swimming, Reading, Kung-Fu, and Crochet and balances everything by having a very strict diary! If you’d like to connect with her, the links to her social channels are below.