Every year in June, the ITI opens the application portal for its Scholarships. We took this opportunity to ask one of our previous Scholars, Dr. Pedro Molinero-Mourelle from Spain, about his experience, his daily work and what he liked the most about it. He spent his Scholarship year from September 2019-2020 at the ITI Scholarship Center in Bern, Switzerland.
What are the 3 most memorable things you will take away from your Scholarship year?
1. The first day of course. When I entered the faculty, it was with a mixture of pride, excitement and fear. I was in one of the most prestigious centers in the world for dental medicine and it felt good to see that all the work I had done until that moment was being rewarded.
2. My birthday in full lockdown. Professors Brägger and Schimmel gave me a birthday gift from the department and told me I could stay longer to compensate for the effect of the pandemic on my scholarship year.
3. My last scholarship day. That day Professor Brägger gave me my ITI Scholarship diploma and a small speech praising the work done during our year and explaining the horizons that had now opened up. It did not feel like an ending but a new beginning.
Could you give us an idea of how your working week was structured?
My weeks were very full. Monday mornings were for my research project and during the afternoon I helped Prof. Martin Schimmel with his clinical consulting appointments.
Tuesday was the most exciting day of the week and very intense. There were days that I attended the department of Oral Surgery and Stomatology to learn from the team around Professors Chappuis and Buser during implant surgeries. Or I had the opportunity to look over Professor Belser’s shoulder as he treated his prosthetic cases. For me, Tuesdays were the culmination of everything that I had been learning about the ITI philosophy and treatment concept. On top of that, every 3 or 4 weeks we had an ITI Study Club meeting, which made Tuesday a perfect day.
Wednesdays were very full since they included implant planning sessions between the Departments of Reconstructive Dentistry and Oral Surgery. Evidence-based dentistry and the SAC classification formed the cornerstone of these treatment planning sessions. Afternoons were for the postgraduate program, in which the residents and I presented clinical cases, attended literature seminars and lectures by internal and guest professors. Thursdays and Fridays were divided between helping Professor Brägger, other prosthodontic treatments, and continuing with my research project.
Why did you choose this Scholarship Center?
For me the decision was clear for the very beginning. Bern is one of the historical starting and reference centers for implant dentistry. It was in Bern that all the concepts we follow today were developed by the best and I have always thought that if you want to learn you should start from the basic and from the beginning. Moreover, many of the best worldwide professional references in implant dentistry had trained there and I wanted to learn from the best.
Did you get enough support to do your job well?
Much more than I could have imagined. Professor, lecturers, residents and assistant staff were by my side to help me adapt. Professors Brägger and Schimmel in particular supported me at all times in developing my projects and also fostered team spirit with the rest of the department colleagues.
Thanks to this support I can say that I have been able to take advantage of this year with all its potential
Do you feel you learned a lot?
I should say that my experience in Bern entirely changed my professional viewpoint, since the Bernese and the ITI concept provide a very well-structured comprehensive treatment approach. Being here allows you to learn first hand, from both the clinical and research aspect. I have been able to improve all my skills and can confirm my passion for prosthodontics. My experience has exceeded my expectations.
In which ways did the pandemic affect your year abroad?
When the pandemic started to spread, the situation became uncertain. When news about the upcoming lockdown arrived, I thought about returning to my country. However, after discussing it with my mentors we decided that even if the conditions were not really optimal, we would do everything possible to take maximum advantage of the situation.
Despite the lockdown, Prof Brägger and Schimmel found a way to allow me to continue developing all possible activities in line with Covid safety standards.
Considering the situation, I can say that despite the problematic situation I was able to take advantage of a great deal, since the team’s positive approach allowed it to face the pandemic optimally.
Why would you recommend our Scholarship program to other young professionals?
For me, this experience has not only taught me dental medicine, but I have also been able to learn from life. Personally, I think that the ITI Scholarship experience is a great opportunity to develop one’s personal and professional potential. Besides that, one is part of this great family that shares the same philosophy and approach with a patient-centered treatment care concept.
I highly recommend this experience for colleagues who want to expand their personal and professional horizons.
Each year we enable young implant dentistry talent to spend a year abroad at a highly regarded university being mentored by an ITI Fellow at one of our 32 ITI Scholarship Centers around the globe. Are you keen on getting insight into every aspect of implant treatment? Would you like to dive into the complex world of case planning, implant surgery and prosthetic restorations in an international context?
Our application portal is open from June 1 to June 30. Don’t hesitate any longer and apply now!
More information at www.iti.org/scholarships