Warm greetings from Thailand. My name is Sawita, a lecturer in the Department of Oral Biomedical Science, Khon Kaen University (KKU), Khon Kaen, Thailand. I had an opportunity to attend the summer course in 2015 and continued in a long-term training program combined with KKU PhD in Oral Science curriculum, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and KKU. I have had inspiration academic purpose from mentors and friends from many countries since then. We have learned and shared our knowledge and experience in improving oral health/dental school curriculum, culture, etc. In 2015, dental public health was out of my interest (I have backgrounds in dentistry and neurophysiology of cardiovascular response to dental pain in a rat model). I was impressed with clinical and behavioral research methodology, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Integrating all these into my work creates more fun and, of course, benefits my career so that I can distribute them to my patients and students.
I started a project which was new to me both in science and methodology. My project was about the innate immunity function of taste receptors relating to dental caries and periodontal disease in Thai dental patients. Learning new things and developing new skills were challenging. I’ve had struggled along the way. All the mentors in the program were very understanding and provided me with all their support to achieve my goal. I’ve learned academic and life skills from all the mentors. I feel that they work so hard in collaborating between countries/universities. Besides the curriculum, I feel thankful to have them devoting their time guiding me through the journey. I am ready to pay it forward and learn more to help improve dental public health.