We recently asked VOHA member and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch about his oral health passion. Below is his response.
Why is oral health important to you?
I graduated as a dentist 25 years ago, and spent time working across a range of practice settings, including the Australian Army, private and public practices in metropolitan and regional areas as well as an Aboriginal health service. From there I moved into an academic career at Melbourne Dental School with a focus on dental public health. I’m interested in how we can improve access to dental care for the most vulnerable people in our community, and my PhD research looked at oral health and access to dental care in nursing homes. This research drove changes to regulations and removed barriers that were preventing dental hygienists from providing care directly to residents.
I became involved in the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch and spent 11 years on their board, including a term as the President, before stepping away to focus elsewhere. But when the opportunity arose to become the CEO of the Branch in 2017, I jumped at the opportunity. I had been involved through the ADAVB with the earlier iteration of the Victorian Oral Health Alliance, but saw an opportunity to relaunch the alliance with waiting times for public dental care increasing. I’m really excited to see VOHA growing and expanding in terms of influence, and am hopeful that our work will help to improve the public dental care system in Victoria.