Special recognition for students’ work on public health initiatives

Oral Health Foundation president presents award to Dundee group participating in projects with community organisations

23 June, 2017 / infocus
 

The president of the Oral Health Foundation visited the University of Dundee Dental School recently to present awards to a group of fourth-year students who have produced exceptional projects during their degrees.

Janet Goodwin heard how the students had set out to teach marginalised groups in Dundee how to develop good oral hygiene routines, despite their specific situations.

As part of their Dental Public Health programme, the students collaborated with voluntary and community organisations which helped them reach out to individuals with learning disabilities, mental health issues and those serving time in prison.

One group, who worked with the Steeple Church drop-in centre for people experiencing homelessness, were awarded a special prize by the president of the charity for building the most successful project.

Janet said: “I always enjoy my visits to Dundee Dental School because each year the standard of work and effort that the students put in never fails to impress.

“Each student that participated in the projects has helped to illustrate the potential for dental care professionals to address the issues which prevent people from maintaining good oral hygiene routines.

“The students in the winning group identified the key factors which prevent good oral health among those who are homeless. Mental illness, self-esteem issues and marginalisation are just a few of the issues that the students attempted to address through a series of five workshops aimed at building their confidence with regards to dental care over time.”

The competition was judged by an expert panel comprised of Janet Goodwin; Professor Mark Hector, dean of dentistry; Dr Kevin Davey, associate dean for quality and academic standards; and Derek Richards, director of the Centre for Evidence-based Dentistry, DHSRU.

“I really hope that other schools in the country and other dental care professionals will take inspiration from the work these students have done for the marginalised members of their community,” Janet added.

“Spreading vital oral health messages with all members of the society, regardless of what personal issues they may face, is extremely important and so is making sure that the next generation of dental care professionals understand that.”

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