James Cook University’s Cairns-based dentistry school is celebrating 10 years of teaching, and 385 graduate dentists—with more to come in December.
“Ours was the first dental school in Australia to be based outside of a major city, making it an important milestone for dental education and training in Australia,” Professor Richard Murray, Dean of the College of Medicine and Dentistry said.
In 2009 JCU Cairns welcomed the first cohort of 67 students to the Bachelor of Dental Surgery—selected from a highly competitive pool of more than 600 applicants.
Since 2013, when the first graduation ceremony was held, the program has produced 385 graduates. Nine of those are Indigenous graduates, making JCU Dentistry a key provider of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dentists nationally.
“We are proud to say that our graduates have the knowledge and skills to provide dental health care in a variety of settings, including rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Professor Murray said.
The dentistry teaching building at JCU’s Smithfield campus includes an 80-chair dental simulation laboratory, prosthodontics facilities, and science and anatomy laboratories.
Since 2012 the JCU Dental Clinic in Cairns has provided low-cost dentistry services to more than 63,000 patients. Senior students gain practical experience at the clinic, under the supervision of experienced dentists.