Spurring the next generation of Indigenous dentists

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ADA NSW president Dr Kathleen Matthews

A new partnership between the Australian Dental Association New South Wales (ADA NSW) and the Indigenous Dentists’ Association of Australia (IDAA) will explore how to improve oral health outcomes for—and inspire—the next generation of Indigenous dental practitioners.

“Only 0.4 per cent of employed dental professionals in Australia are Indigenous, according to the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Oral Health and Dental Care in Australia report,” ADA NSW president Dr Kathleen Matthews said. 

“More than 60 per cent of Indigenous patients aged 35-54 have signs of gum disease and almost one-third of Indigenous adults rate their oral health as poor or fair.

“All Australians deserve access to affordable dental care when they need it, but the current data shows we must take action to improve oral health outcomes for Indigenous patients,” Dr Matthews added.

The new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will see ADA NSW assist with developing an IDAA website and collaborate on future professional development courses, especially around cultural safety. The IDAA will assist ADA NSW in the development of a reconciliation action plan and both organisations will explore opportunities for joint membership initiatives.

“We can only close the gap in health inequalities by improving Indigenous representation in the workforce and ensuring the next generation of Indigenous health professionals is coming through,” IDAA president Dr Gari Watson said.

“We hope this MOU will help strengthen links between existing Indigenous dental practitioners, provide more information on potential careers in dentistry and also further highlight oral heath’s link to overall wellbeing.

“We believe this partnership with ADA NSW is, given our shared values and purpose, another important step towards improving overall health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

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