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Indigenous oral health study grant recipients announced

The Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) and Dental Hygienists Association of Australia (DHAA) have awarded five study grants to assist undergraduate Indigenous oral health therapy and dental hygienist students with the cost of dental equipment and textbooks, and to provide financial support while they are on placements or living away from home.

Each recipient, who must be undertaking a course of study leading to registration as a dental hygienist or oral health therapist, will receive $5000 as well as mentoring by a qualified dental hygienist during the year of the grant.

The successful students for 2019 are Corinne Webster from NSW, Jasmine White from SA, Kellie Gleeson from NSW, Latish Sykora from SA and Tyla McMillan from NSW.

Noting that the delivery of dental care to Indigenous Australians is enhanced if that care is provided by a professionally-qualified Indigenous practitioner, ADHF Chairman David Owen expressed the hope that the awarding of these grants will have a material effect on the future work of each of the recipients who, he noted, “are passionate about enhancing oral health, implementing preventive measures, and reducing dental disease of the Indigenous and wider community.”

“The Foundation hopes that the grants will provide recipients with valuable assistance to help them complete their courses so they can embark on delivering care to help reduce the inequality that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, ” Owen said.

Aboriginal health reports have found that Indigenous Australians are more likely than other Australians to have multiple caries and untreated dental disease, and less likely to have received preventive dental care, with their oral health influenced by many factors including a tendency towards unfavourable dental visiting patterns associated with accessibility, cost, and a lack of cultural awareness by some service providers.

David Owen’s sentiments were echoed by DHAA CEO Bill Suen.

“University can be a challenging time, particularly financially, so these grants are there to make the experience that little bit easier. We wish the recipients well for their future studies,” Suen said.

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