The AOG History
AOG is a society of likeminded UK dentists. The main aims and objectives are :
- To promote and advance current concepts of dentistry in order to improve dental services to the public through peer review and friendship.
- It is a society which encourages the whole of dental industry together.
- Through her partner society, AOG Foundation Ltd, it promotes charitable activities in the UK and abroad.
AOG welcomes everyone to partake in her activities.
AOG roots start in the mid 1970s, there were a small group of mainly Asian dental students who formed a study and social club at the Royal London Dental Hospital. They were bound by their common origins and their aspirations to qualify as dentists. A tutor, Dr Louis Joseph, suggested that this genial camaraderie be capitalised upon and continue to support other dentists with similar aspirations.
It with this background the AOG (Anglo Asian Odontogical Group) was formally incepted in 1981. The organisation soon grew and found other like-minded dental groups to work with.
- AOG newsletter published- Editor Dr Raj Rajarayan OBE
- MGDS study group founded by BSGDS members Raj Rajarayan, Manny Vasant MBE, Ruby Austin MBE and others. Supported by AOG members
- AOG produces multilanguage oral hygiene leaflets
- Kent Dental Ltd and DSE ltd. Become first sponsors of AOG
- Dental Directory takes over as major sponsor of AOG
- Monthly study clubs implemented
- Annual Charity ball implemented- President Badge of office designed
- Study groups to international venues arranged
- AOG CHARITY
- Over the years AOG's has contributed over £500,000 to worthy charitable causes
Sponsored MGDS Study Group; Evelina Children's Hospital London, School for Autistic Children in Hammersmith: Post-graduate education in the UK to specialist students;
Chitrakoot Dental Project in India; Earthquake victims in Pakistan, India and Nepal; Help the Heroes; Disability Centre in Musoma, Tanzania; Dental unit in Mwanza, Tanzania; Home for orphan children in Sri Lanka; Organised Educational days for Overseas dentists and provided mentors for them; and many other projects.
AOG Chronology and Evolution March 2016
(Approved by Trustees of AOG Foundation Trust and AOG committee as a fair reflection of events) Any group will have to go through various stages. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with a memorable phrase "forming, storming, norming and performing " in his 1965 article, "Developmental Sequence in Small Groups". Anglo-Asian Odontological Group was no exception to this. This is summary of events that led to what is "AOG" today.
- Whilst it is true in that in mid 1970s there were some half a dozen Asian dentists were meeting up at the Royal London Dental Hospital, Anglo-Asian Odontological Group (AOG) was not the name they had ever conceived (see below). This particular group of Asian dentists were apparently calling themselves "Mhindi Club" 1. "Mhindi" is a singular word in Swahili for "Indian", referring to a person of Indian origin. What probably bound them together was the financial hardship as students, living in shared accommodation and their common origins from East Africa. In the 1980s when AOG was in its conceptual stage, some half a dozen or members of this group, who were now qualified dentists, did however meet up with other Asian dentists from different backgrounds which led to the AOG (vide infra).
- Dr Louis Joseph, tutor at London Hospital, had informally suggested to some Asian dentists that following their departure from the London Hospital, they should form an Asian Society as an ongoing support and peer review group. This idea was widely approved by a dozen or so of Asian dentists who were at this dinner. Following their graduation, some of these members met at Dr Khambay's practice, Southall, in 1980 and floated the idea of such a group. Dr Khambay was amongst the first within this group to acquire a practice of his own hence the choice of the venue.
- Other dentists of Asian origin and from different Universities (including some that had qualified abroad) had also informally met up where this idea was also discussed. In 1981, the first semiformal meeting took place in the banqueting room, above the old Brilliant Restaurant in Southall. About 30 dentists were present most of who had graduated from the London schools although some from Australia and India. Dr Tej Vasir, who was a UCH graduate and a post-graduate student in Orthodontics suggested the name Asian Odontological Group. It was at this function that the first ad hoc committee was appointed. Dr Mahesh Patel was proposed by Dr Shashi Patel, duly seconded and appointed unanimously as a treasurer. To date, Mahesh holds the longest serving office in the AOG.
- In parallel with the Asian dentists meeting at the Royal London in the late 70s and the meeting at the Brilliant restaurant, where seeds for the AOG were sown, there was already a much bigger group of Indian qualified doctors and dentists who were regularly meeting up socially nearer Diwali time. This group had been in existence for at least a decade or so. As the numbers of dentists grew, the dentists group became a separate entity around 1978 whence they started having their own event without their medical counterparts. The first big meeting was organised by Drs Sailesh Vora, Anil Barai, D K Patel, Mahendra Patel and others at Queens Hotel in Croydon attended by around 60 people in 1977 2. There were several smaller and more frequent social meetings amongst this group for common exchanges as is the case with any immigrant population "norming" themselves. The second big meeting in 1982 - around a hundred or so people was organised by Dr Manny Vasant MBE at YWCA in Croydon. It was just a coincidence that Manny met up with Dr Dipak Joshi (for the first time) and others at a party thrown by Dr Hans Patel at his residence a couple of weeks before this event. Hans and Dipak were members of the "Mhindi" Club. When the forthcoming Croydon gathering was mentioned it was suggested that AOG be officially launched at that meeting. Hence apart from the usual Indian graduates a small (about half a dozen or so which included Drs Pommi Datta, Dipak Joshi, Amarjit Khambay, Hans Patel, Mukesh Patel, Tej Vasir) delegation of locally qualified Asian dentists also attended this meeting. AOG was officially launched at this meeting. Dipak Joshi was the spokesperson who made this announcement3. The next meeting was under the AOG banner at Guys tower in the winter of the following year (1983). Dental Supply and Engineering, a company based in London SW17, were taking keen interest in this group. Their representative spread the word about this function. From then on it has become a sporadic event under the AOG banner and an established 2 annual event from the late 80s.
- It is noteworthy that amongst the people who attended the meeting at the Croydon events, also included three people who went on to become trustees Manny Vasant, Mahesh Patel, Rashmi Patel. Some went of to become Presidents Drs Suresh Chande, Pommi Datta, Dipak Joshi, Dinesh Jani, Rashmi Patel, Manny Vasant.
- During mid 80s Dr Raj RajaRayan OBE came on the scene and brought a lot of formal structure and finesse to the AOG. As editor of the AOG, Raj published the first Newsletter and helped with the constitution. Raj, with his Harrovian eloquence, inimitable energy and talent put AOG on the map of dentistry nationally and internationally. Dr an OBE was already computer literate using Apple Computers in early 1980s. Whilst he played with several fonts and logos. We believe that the descriptive AOG logo with lots of similarity to the one we currently use today arguably was his baby. To date Raj RajaRayan remains a legend in the AOG history. It was he who nurtured many of the AOG committee members and got recognition for the AOG in the dental world.
- Dr Nancy Boodhoo, an adviser at one of the defense societies, assisted Dr Raj RajaRayan to write the constitution. It was agreed that AOG will remain an apolitical body.
- After the very first Newsletter of the 80s, Dr Manny Vasant wrote a letter to the Editor (Raj) suggesting to change the name to Anglo-Asian Odontological Group from Asian Odontological Group as the AOG welcomed members of all races and origins residing in the UK. This was approved. However, it was never changed formally in the constitution. Over the years, both names Anglo-Asian Odontological Group and Asian Odontological Groups were use. The acronym AOG was retained and continues in use even today.
- >Once the AOG had established in the 80s, there was a very small minority (about half a dozen or so) of Sikhs and Punjabi dentists some within the above group who were partial to Guinness. "Asians on Guinness" was a satirical name that they applied to themselves as it also fitted in with the AOG acronym. The rumour that this was how the AOG started is simply a facetious remark by this handful of people. For clarity it must be noted that a vast number of members of the AOG are teetotalers by choice or for religious reasons. They would find it offensive to be formally associated with such a club.
- It is also a myth that AOG started the MGDS Study group. Ruby Austin MBE and Manny Vasant MBE were the first two British-Asians to get MGDS. Raj RajaRayan OBE came in about two years later. He then approached members of the "British Society for General Dental Surgery"- BSGDS was society of MGDS holders) the then very up and coming Ruby, Manny, Roger Goulden, Ken Eaton and Mike Townsend to start a study group5. Having established a Newsletter for the AOG, he placed an advert in this Newsletter about this new group. Hence the initial batch had a preponderance of AOG members although AOG was not directly involved as such. The above five were founder members although Raj did bulk of the work. In addition to Raj's advert in the AOG Newsletter, Manny had written an article in the Probe in 1985 (archived copy available) regarding this study group.
- Dr Ruby Austin joined the group after he met Raj Rajaryan and Manny Vasant at a BSGDS function. Ruby has given AOG a lot of direction and mentored a huge number of people within and outside the AOG and continues to do so. Ruby Austin along with Bhupi Bhogal and Hans Patel also started the AOG Golf Society.
- The very first charitable and educational function of the AOG was to generate educational leaflets for Oral Hygiene in English, Gujarati, and Urdu. Dr Manny Vasant MBE had led this venture4. The inspiration for this venture came from exchanges in the BDJ letter section between Prof Raman Bedi, Sonia Williams and Manny Vasant about high rate of caries within the children of the newly (1970s) arrived Asian community (many of who owned confectionery shops)6. AOG members managed to obtain sponsorship for these leaflets from local Asian businessman which included butchers and grocery shops.
- Circa 1985 Drs Dipak Joshi, Manny Vasant, Cyrus Malkout and Raj RajaRayan trawled through the Dental Register at Manny's practice one Saturday afternoon to make a manual hand written database. This was given to Dr Khambay by Raj Rajarayan as he said he will get it make a computer version of it (none of us had any expertise about making a database) Unfortunately this never materialised.
- Our first trade deal was with Dental Supply and Engineering in London SW17( Director Tony Botton), then Kent (Managing Director Karin Lenartsson) and then Dental Directory (Martin Mills and Mike Volk) which Manny Vasant signed in 1993 as the then President accompanied by Dr Dipak Joshi who had led many of the negotiations. Dr Joshi was also instrumental in negotiating the previous deal with Kent Dental also. With the extra funding AOG received from sponsorships, AOG commissioned refinement of the descriptive logo. There were various contributions from the committee members.
- Dr Ruby Austin followed as President in 1994. Under his Presidency AOG matured to a high class society and made many fields and partners throughout the world.
- Dr Hans Patel became Secretary of the AOG in the 90s and brought a lot of new enthusiasm to the AOG and encouraged the likes of Dr Lalit Khiroya, Mukesh Patel, Raj Majthia to join the committee. For many years, venue for the meetings was 46 Harley Street at Raj RajaRayan's practice.
- In 1995, Dr Rashmi Patel became the first lady President of the AOG. Dr Rashmi Patel was charged to oversee design of Badge of Office. The badge was designed by Thomas Fattorini along with the past president's badges.
- 1998 was another milestone in AOG's calendar. Historically, the Statutory Examination, which was the precursor of the IQE (now ORE) examination, prevented overseas dentists from taking any courses before sitting the examination. This was so, as the GDC argued, that the former examination was a 'test of claimed competence', i.e. an overseas dentist who claimed to possess a qualification that was equivalent to the UK qualification should be able to pass the examination without any further training. For a while, Manny Vasant has been negotiating with the GDC to change this stance. In 1998 the GDC under the stewardship of Margaret Seward finally relented to allow such a course and agreed to come to such an event.
- The first event, in 1998 organised by Manny Vasant and Rashmi Patel at the Institute of Child Health, London was sponsored by the AOG. It was attended by, amongst others, Professor McGowan (then Chairman of the Statutory Examination), Ian Waite (National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education), Dame Margaret Seward (then President of the GDC) and Ros Hepplewhite (Registrar of the GDC at that time). They all saw the need for such a day. If nothing else, it brings together a group who are, otherwise, very lonely and aloof. This became a calendar event for the AOG for many years to come 6.
- In 2002, Abhay Soneji became president the meetings moved to his practice across the road in Harley Street. In 2008, Pommi Datta took over the office of President of the AOG. At the suggestion of Raj RajaRayan and the incoming President, the meetings moved to Southall at Dr Khambay's practice or one of his pubs. The reason why Raj and Pommi wanted to move take the meeting were largely unclear but possibly were enticed by good authentic Indian food to which most members were very also partial? Dr Pommi Datta's presidency continues unopposed to date.
- As regards sustenance of the AOG we have to thank Mahesh Patel for his ability to manage funds and also Rashmi Patel's ability to generate funds at charity fund raising events from the early days and continues to-date. This is why AOG has always remained financially very sound!
Over the years AOG's has contributed over £500,000 to worthy charitable causes listed below: Sponsored MGDS Study Group; School for Autistic Children in Hammersmith: Earthquake victims in Pakistan, India and Nepal; Help the Heroes; Disability Centre in Musoma, Tanzania; Dental unit in Mwanza, Tanzania; Home for orphan children in Sri Lanka; Organised Educational days for Overseas dentists and provided mentors for them; Post-graduate education in the UK to specialist students; Chitrakoot Dental Project in India; Evelina Children's Hospital London and many other projects
- In 2009, it was decided by a working party that as the AOG's main activity seemed to be charitable deeds, we should have a disparate body called the "AOG Foundation Ltd" a registered charity to manage this element. Founding trustees were Drs Raj RajaRayan OBE(Chair); Amarjit Khambay; Ruby Austin MBE; Rashmi Patel MBE; Manny Vasant MBE. Mahesh Patel Treasurer and Company Secretary. Drs Amarjit Khambay and Raj RajaRayan resigned in 2013. Mahesh Patel and Pommi Datta have filled the two vacancies.
- In the subsequent years, many attempts were made to entice new and younger members to the committee. Given the current economic situation and particularly changes and pressures faced in dentistry, it is acknowledged that the newer generation compared to the "baby boomer" generation have different priorities. The latest attempt for AGM and new nominations was also disappointing. The only nominations received were from the trustees who were elected as committee members of the AOG also. Dr Pommi Datta continues to remain unopposed president. The concept of AOG and "aa-oo-gee" (which means welcome in Hindi) was adopted by Pommi Datta more recently. He found this coincidence amusing although in keeping with the ethos of a friendly welcome. Although it was never formally adopted it crept up on the website!
- Please watch the space for elections in 2016, Register your interest if you wish to serve.
- Written and Oral communication with Dr Dipak Joshi and Pommi Datta who were students at the London during 1970s
- Endorsed by the named parties there in.
- Oral communication with Dr Dipak Joshi and Pommi Datta who were students and part of the Mhindi Club.
- BDJ Number 8 1986 p 319 letter 'Ethnic Differences in Caries Prevalence in 5 year olds in NW London. M K Vasant
- Article Probe M Vasant The Probe 1986;28 No2pp45
- Dentistry Nov 7th 2002
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