Professor Chadwick has just been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to paediatric dental health. For most of her career she has been based at Cardiff University School of Dentistry, most recently as Director of Education and Students.
Not everyone works for 35 years and loves every day of it, says Professor Barbara Chadwick, who has been blessed, she adds, by influential mentors, wonderful colleagues, committed students and a dental pathway which offers infinite variety.
She worked as a researcher, clinician and a teacher in paediatric dentistry, explaining: “As a children’s dentist, you practice all aspects of dentistry, oral surgery, restorative, and periodontics. You do a little bit of everything, constrained only by the age of the patients who need you as their advocate.”
Her route into paediatric dentistry came about by accident. She had decided she wanted to be a periodontist – the periodontology department had the best parties, she says.
She moved to Wales to await a periodontal opportunity in London, taking up a role as a rotating registrar in Cardiff School of Dentistry.
While she was there, her colleague Peter Crawford, encouraged her to apply for a lectureship in paediatric dentistry. He told her: “I think you would enjoy it and be good at it.”
Thirty five years later, Professor Chadwick has just retired after a career which has been more fulfilling than she could ever have imagined. Among the achievements she is most proud of is the number of her dental students who have chosen paediatric dentistry as a career, some now working as specialists and consultants in paediatric dentistry. “My real legacy is the people I leave behind.”
She continued: “I have only succeeded because I have been lucky to work with insightful and thoughtful people. They nurtured me and in turn I hope I have been able to nurture the next generation of dentists. I have been one small cog in many enterprises.”
Ever generous with her time, Professor Chadwick has also served on the BSPD executive as membership secretary. She says she is a keen reader and walker and belongs to a paediatric dental walking group. “Dentists are very sustaining people and paediatric dentists particularly so.”
Stephen Fayle, a spokesman for BSPD commented: “Barbara has devoted her career to the improvement of children’s oral health, both in improving our understanding of the challenges, and in developing and supporting dental professionals at all levels to enable them to deliver high quality dental care for children. I am sure everyone across the specialty of Paediatric Dentistry will join in congratulating Barbara on receiving this well deserved award, which reflects the outstanding contribution she has made.”