Dedicated dental professionals were honoured with Public Oral Healthcare Awards on 28 November 2013 for their care and commitment to community dental services.
The awards, presented by Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV), are given annually to dental professionals who go above and beyond to care for those Victorians most in need of dental treatmen.
The winners were recognised at an awards ceremony as part of the DHSV annual general meeting and received funding of $5,000 to attend a health conference of their choice to continue their professional development.
Profiles of winners (as of November 2013)
Operating more than 15 health services and employing over 110 people, NRCH provides service to people within the City of Yarra and greater Melbourne, as well as communities in rural and remote Victoria. The organisation’s Health Promoting Practice Model has changed NRCH’s approach to oral healthcare by moving from a treatment-based approach to a preventative-based approach that empowers and educates patients.
ISCHS is one of Victoria’s largest community health services providing care across the inner southern region of Melbourne and beyond. The organisation’s Priority Populations Model aims to improve oral health among marginalised communities including Aboriginal people, and those who are homeless, experiencing mental illness, or struggling with alcohol and drug issues.
PVCH’s One-Start Shop model is about providing quality dental services to a range of diverse and disadvantaged community groups including refugees, survivors of torture, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients, people living with disability, and low income families. By building strategic partnerships with other community groups, PVCH’s One-Start Shop has been able to improve its operational efficiency, while reducing dental waiting lists.
This multi-disciplinary team is located across three sites including Frankston, Rosebud and Hastings – an area which covers around 850 square kilometres. Their outreach program focusses on priority groups and has partnerships with other agencies such as the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Koori Services to thank for its success. In the past 12 months they have delivered services to around 2500 children at 50 preschools, and also collaborated with Mt Erin Secondary College and the ADA to improve teenage oral health. The Community Dental Team’s holistic approach to care planning means they actively engage their clients in decision making about their care and treatment through consultation and consumer feedback.
FinalistsNorth Richmond Community Health (NRCH): Oral Health Education Team
The three staff that make up NRCH’s Oral Health Education Team are multi-skilled and bilingual to boot. This small team’s educational approach has improved oral health, reduced plaque scores, improved brushing and flossing skills, and increased knowledge of the impact of sugar on teeth and how caries develop. The result is that fewer clients require restorative care, and those who have uncontrolled dental disease are stabilised – saving valuable dental procedures that are often only short-term solutions.
This dental duo reach out to a vulnerable group of patients, taking their portable clinic to special development schools and private homes to offer dental care to patients that other oral health professionals have found difficult. Dr Baker and Ms Glew recognise that this group of patients require consistency in their care, as many are unable to voice their opinions and needs. Their model has helped to improve productivity, patient satisfaction and outcomes for many years.
Outstanding performance by an individual that is helping to improve the oral health outcomes for the Victorian community, particularly vulnerable population groups.
WinnerDr Michael Smith, Barwon Health
Dr Michael Smith has been leading public oral health services across Geelong, Bellarine, Colac and the Surf Coast region over the past 16 years. He has been pivotal in a variety of health promotion, research, public oral health and consumer engagement strategies. He has driven positive health initiatives and advocated for fluoridation across the region, in order to reduce the incidence of decay. Through Dr Smith’s leadership the Barwon Health Oral Health Services consumer and staff engagement and satisfaction continues to improve – with feedback from clients always extremely positive.
Dr Martin Hall has been committed to improving oral health outcomes for vulnerable communities for the past 30 years. As Oral Health Manager and Senior Dentist at North Richmond Community Health, he oversees 40 staff and has brought the innovative ‘Minimal Intervention Dentistry’ to NRCH, giving patients the best care available without putting them through unnecessary pain and discomfort. Dr Hall’s work has also involved pioneering the new ‘Hall Technique’, which minimises discomfort for children who are afraid to visit a dentist.
Dr Nick Baker has tirelessly delivered high quality oral health care to Victorian children with severe physical and intellectual disabilities for more than 30 years. He does this through the dental van that visits special developmental schools throughout Victoria, both metropolitan and rural locations. People with disabilities can be fearful of dental treatment but Dr Baker has an incredible way of making the children, and their parents, feel comfortable.
Dr Ian Steele has worked for DHSV for over 40 years. He was first registered as a dentist in 1966 and over those years has continued to provide quality care to thousands of patients who could not otherwise afford the expense of private treatment. He has also mentored hundreds of dentists and specialists throughout his career and his excellence in service provision, delivery of high quality, complex care and dealing with some of the most challenging cases that present in dentistry is tantamount to his living legacy.
Dr Felicia Valianatos keeps abreast of practice excellence and innovation by providing care for clients who present with the most complex and high risk oral health issues. This enables her to support fellow clinicians to excel in the delivery of effective, safe and innovative clinical care, and to be supervisors as they support student clinicians through the MonashLink graduate program. Dr Valianatos’ commitment to oral healthcare delivered at MonashLink means graduate students leave their placement with an increased respect for the public dental sector.
Dr Ramini Shankumar began working at Monash Health in 1991, and has played an integral role in the expansion of the dental services which have grown from five clinics to 30 clinics - with the soon to be completed new Dandenong clinic. She has a particular interest in improving the service provision to vulnerable groups – evidenced by her targeted approach to increasing access for refugees, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders, and clients undergoing rehabilitation. As a result of the National Partnership Agreement, Dr Shankumar was able to work in partnership with private clinicians in the Greater Dandenong and Cardinia-Casey area to reduce denture waiting times from four years to six months. Dr Shankumar and her team are now focussing their efforts on reducing the wait time for general dental care to zero.
Last updated: 2014-11-28