2016 Public Oral Health Awards

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2016 Public Oral Health Awards

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Each year, Dental Health Services Victoria recognises an individual or a team in the public oral health sector who goes above and beyond their duty with a Public Oral Health Award. The winners were announced at our AGM on 24 November 2016.

Diana Brown

Community Oral Health Champion: Diana Brown, EACH Social and Community Health

Diana is not only the Smiles 4 Miles coordinator at EACH Social and Community Health, she also works as a receptionist, providing administrative and customer service support at the clinic. With an interest in health promotion, Diana took on the coordinator’s role at Smiles 4 Miles in 2010. Since then, the number of preschool aged children visiting EACH dental clinic has tripled.

Diana provides training sessions to early childhood educators and assists them in developing healthy eating and oral health policies. She has implemented strategies for family engagement around the key messages: Drink well, Eat well and Clean well and information regarding dental services and healthy eating initiatives available to children has been provided to families.

Diana’s continuing dedication and commitment to this program has seen the number of early childhood services grow from a mere 16 to 43 in 2015, and now there are 60 as EACH expanded into the outer east area, capturing not only Knox, but also Maroondah and Yarra Ranges shires.

Ballarat Health Services

Public Dental Clinic of the Year: Ballarat Health Services

Ballarat Health Services (BHS) Dental had an outstanding year in building and strengthening existing relationships with the wider Ballarat community, Latrobe University and the Grampians region. The dental team has worked hard in identifying, supporting and delivering oral health services to patients by targeting public health priorities as well as offering a wide range of services to patients, promoting good oral health and improving oral health accessibility.

Here are some of their achievements:

  • creating a supportive structure for staff, students and visitors in a state-of-the-art dental facility
  • targeting priority groups recognised by DHSV and worked hard to provide outreach services to help bring dental to those who need it most
  • young mums group: working with local educators to support high-risk teenagers aged 14 to 17 years who have become pregnant while at school. BHS has supported 39 teenagers
  • homeless youth programs: 50 teenagers who were at risk of homelessness were examined, treated and supplied with oral health kits.

Link Health and Community

Oral Health Project of the Year: Keeping Kids Smiling, Link Health and Community

Keeping Kids Smiling (KKS) was created to address the barriers to oral health access among children in the City of Monash.

A small but passionate group of dental therapists, oral health therapists and dental assistants were set for stretching the limitations of public healthcare access. By using a mobile dental service, they engaged in oral health screening of children from schools and kindergartens in the City of Monash and embraced a population health approach to promote and educate on the importance of prevention of oral disease.

KKS raised the bar in what can be achieved in improving priority clients’ access to oral healthcare in Victoria. In the last financial year, the KKS team has visited 32 primary schools and 17 preschools/kindergartens and has screened a total of 9,702 children. 2,518 new children accessed Link through the program and raised the proportion of priority groups accessing care to 63.2 per cent by July 2016. It exceeded the state average by 12.1 per cent and the eastern metropolitan region by 10 per cent. This is an important marker that KKS met needs of this key population group, as parents were previously unaware of dental problems and now these children received timely care.

Dr Martin Hall

Star of Public Dentistry: Dr Martin Hall, North Richmond Community Health

Dr Martin Hall, North Richmond Community Health (NRCH) general manager clinical services, oral health manager and senior dentist has been committed to improving oral health outcomes for vulnerable communities over the past 30 years. Dr Hall’s commitment is demonstrated through his vision and determination to implement a very successful, well recognised and evidence based Health Promoting Practice model at NRCH which targets behaviour change in high-risk clients. This initiative has incurred
many hours of planning, education and systemic changes over a long period of time. This change required team building and extraordinary leadership to build trust among staff with the aim of staff becoming accepting of the changes and compliance with new practices and procedures. His approach has pioneered the use of Certificate IV Dental Assistants as oral health educators.

The outreach components of this model include “Chompers”; a school dental program which saw over 900 children and “Pearly Whites” which has seen over 1,000 aged care residents in the past 12 months.

Valsili Kanidiadis

2017 Smile of the Year: Vasili Kanidiadis

Vasili is the TV host of the popular Vasili’s Garden on 7TWO. His emphasis on growing his own fruit and veggies is a great example of a healthy lifestyle that has a positive outcome on oral health. We look forward to working with him to promote oral health in the coming year.

Vasili has said being DHSV’s Smile of the Year is an excellent opportunity to spread the message that diet plays an important role in oral health. “They say that most diseases start in the mouth. If you’re not looking at what goes into your mouth, then the problems are starting from your teeth, right through your body.

“By eating healthy you remove a lot of processed sugar from your diet, because just about every packaged food product is loaded with it in one form or another.”

Browse the lists of our past winners here