Meet Hend Abdelkader

The new Academic Coordinator for Nordic Institute of Dental Education

NIDE Hend Abdelkader
Photo: Solveig Eriksson

The Nordic Institute of Dental Education has reinforced its team with a new Academic Coordinator. “I am very excited to present to you our new superstar, Hend Abdelkader, and further commit to our long-term vision towards increased collaboration in the Middle East,” says NIDE CEO Thomas Koponen. Read Abdelkader’s interview below for her thoughts on her new position and what she can bring to the company.

Who are you?

I am a dentist with an insatiable thirst to learn more about dentistry. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. As a kid, I used to go to an amazing Filipino dentist who made me fall in love with the profession – and the rest is history.

I received my BDS from Alexandria University in 2007 and my MClinDent within Oral Medicine, Periodontology, Diagnosis and Radiology in 2013 to become a licensed specialist dentist. I moved to Finland in 2013, where I completed an M.Sc. in Biomedical Imaging from the University of Turku.

I am a native speaker of Arabic, fluent in English, and also speak Finnish and French. I’ve worked hard to attain my proficiency in Finnish, and will complete the specialist qualification for dentists trained outside the EU/EEA region to practice dentistry in Finland this year.

For the past three years, I have worked part-time as a research coordinator at the Center for Functional Materials at Åbo Akademi University in addition to being a doctoral student at the Turku Centre for Biotechnology, a joint department of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi.

Over the years, I developed a passion for periodontal plastic surgery through assisting my professor at the university and private clinics. This is what molded me into a specialist in periodontology and oral medicine.

What does your work involve?

As Academic Coordinator for the Nordic Institute of Dental Education, I am responsible for the relationship between the University of Turku Institute of Dentistry and NIDE as well as for developing relationships with our global teacher network. My purpose is to ensure that our programs maintain their academic accreditation and endorsement from the University of Turku through an emphasis on evidence-based programs and research, and that NIDE maintains its recognition from the American Dental Association (ADA) as a quality provider of continuing dental education.

At NIDE, I also participate in organizing, planning and reviewing the course materials and contents. I am involved in creating educational content and planning upcoming e-learning courses for general dentistry and other areas of digital dentistry.

What made you interested in NIDE as an employer?

NIDE delivers advanced dental education and training courses to dental professionals worldwide, and I am passionate about having an impact on the community by improving the quality of education, especially in the dental field. NIDE’s new vision and willingness to learn, improve and experiment made me very enthusiastic.

NIDE Hend Abdelkader Pekka Vallittu
From left: Hend Abdelkader, Nordic Institute of Dental Education, and Pekka Vallittu, Dean of the University of Turku Institute of Dentistry


What are you most looking forward to in your new job?

I have always wanted to be in a position where I can use my skills and work experience to develop my profession. I believe NIDE is a place where I can grow, learn and have an impact on education, which is something that matters a lot to me. NIDE is a transnational joint venture education company working to bring the latest dental technology and evidence-based education to dental professionals worldwide. I am very thankful for this opportunity and excited to bring more success to NIDE.

What are your hobbies?

I am a horse rider and have been riding horses at the Horse Owner Club in my home city since 2002. Horse riding is not only about riding a big, powerful animal and enjoying the air hitting your face. Riding horses has also taught me how to quickly understand the feelings of others, to expect the unexpected and react fast. It has taught me that small actions can have big consequences. The more I ride, the more I learn about silent communication and how to control my movements, voice and feelings in order to reach my goal.

After coming to Finland, I started to have many responsibilities which required both my attention and ability to manage my time very well. When I am not horse riding, I enjoy running and going to the gym.

Where do you live?

I live in Turku, where I also have my office at the dental school, but visit NIDE frequently in Helsinki as well. I have lived in three different countries for a considerable period: 17 years in the UAE, 11 years in Egypt and more than 5 years in Finland. Thanks to this experience, I have been able to broaden my circle of contacts and my knowledge of the universities and education systems in different countries. I now bring all of this knowledge to NIDE to further strengthen the organization.

NIDE team. From left: Academic Coordinator Hend Abdelkader, CEO Thomas Koponen, and Training Coordinator Elli Abdou