In this feature, we introduce you to Cochrane Oral Health's editor Dr Thomas Lamont, a restorative dentist, who tells us a little about his involvement and interests - both inside and outside of Cochrane.
Where do you currently work and what you do there?
I work as a clinical research fellow/honorary specialty registrar in restorative dentistry at Dundee Dental School & Hospital at the University of Dundee.
Describe a typical day for you.
My role involves a mixture of clinical and academic work. Clinically, I work in the restorative department at Dundee dental hospital treating patients that have been referred from primary care; this involves assessing and treating a wide variety of patients.
Academically, I work as part of a team conducting primary, secondary and translational research with a focus on health services research. I have been involved in a number of Cochrane reviews and currently work as a clinical editor for Cochrane Oral Health.
What prompted you to work in this area?
Throughout my undergraduate studies I always enjoyed my clinical sessions in restorative dentistry and felt that I would like to work and specialise in this area of clinical dentistry.
Following graduation I attended a careers event that highlighted the possibility of combining clinical specialisation with an academic career. The combination of clinical and academic studies seemed like a good mix to me. It was at that stage that I got involved with the Cochrane collaboration, helping out with my first Cochrane review.
What are the major challenges that still remain in your field?
At a population level, the aging population with multiple co-morbidities who are retaining more of their teeth will be a challenge for health care systems across the world.
Thankfully, with more emphasis being placed on patient and health care delivers involvement in research generation and synthesis these challenges will be met with an ever improving evidence base to inform clinical decision making.
How did you first encounter Cochrane?
During my postgraduate foundation year I attended a study day on evidence-based dentistry provided by Professor Jan Clarkson (Cochrane Oral Health's Co-ordinating Editor).
Professor Clarkson highlighted the importance of the Cochrane Collaboration’s work and encouraged those in attendance to get involved in any way possible: helping to conduct reviews or using the Cochrane reviews to help inform patient decision making and clinical practice.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with Cochrane?
The most rewarding part of being involved in Cochrane is knowing our reviews help inform clinical guidelines, which in turn can help inform patient decision-making and hopefully improve patient care.
Who (or what) has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
I have been fortunate to have a number of positive role models who have influenced my career so far, but the biggest influence would be my parents who encouraged me to continue in postgraduate education and have always promoted life-long learning.
What are three words you would associate with Cochrane?
Thorough, synthesis, forward-thinking.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends and family, running, playing football, skiing and more recently, surfing.