Award winners

Winners: (pictured left to right) Dr Deborah Cole, DHSV CEO; Niki Hantzis; Dr Warren Shnider;
 Assoc. Prof. Julie Satur and Mick Ellis, DHSV Board Chair

Three dental professionals were honoured with Public Oral Healthcare Awards this week for their care and commitment to public dental services.

The awards, presented annually by Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV), are given to dental professionals who go above and beyond in providing dental care to disadvantaged Victorians.

DHSV CEO, Dr Deborah Cole, said the awards pay tribute to the often unacknowledged work being done by public dental professionals.

“The awards give us the opportunity to formally acknowledge the unsung heroes working in the public dental sector in Victoria.

“The judging panel were overwhelmed by the calibre of the nominees who included dental assistants, specialist dentists, oral health therapists, clinic managers and academics. All of them have dedicated their careers to improving people’s oral health,” said Dr Cole.

The winners received funding of $5,000 for their professional development as well as a trophy designed by Philip Stokes Gallery.

The winners were:

Niki Hantzis Dental Program Manager, Inner East Community Health Service

Niki has provided dental services to children and adolescents via the School Dental Service and Inner East Community Health Service for over 30 years. As a highly skilled dental therapist, Niki has lead, mentored and encouraged others in the profession. She has a knack for dealing with children. Her fun and compassionate approach, coupled with her clinical acumen and skill, means that she has been able to treat thousands of children that others could not. Niki’s is able to cross cultural, language and fear barriers to successfully treat fragile and vulnerable people. In 1998 and 1999 Niki spent 18 months living in army accommodation when she volunteered to treat Kosovar and East Timorese refugees. Some of the Kosovar refugees had overwhelming dental needs having endured dental based torture. After working long hours in the refugee clinic, she found the energy to play ball with the children afterwards.

Associate Professor Julie Satur, Senior Lecturer and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy, Melbourne Dental School, The University of Melbourne

Associate Professor Julie Satur graduated as a dental therapist in 1977 and spent the early part of her career working for the Victorian School Dental Service. She moved onto a project manager role in 1992 and began designing, implementing and evaluating oral health promotion programs for preschool children. Julie has been involved in curriculum development and teaching in dental therapy and dental hygiene for the Bachelor of Oral Health since 1993, ensuring high quality graduates enter the dental workforce. She is a strong advocate for increased recognition of the skills of oral health therapists and dental therapists. Julie was a founding member of the Victorian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association in 1977 and has held the positions of President, Policy Advisor and currently Editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Dental and Oral Health Therapy. Julie is an active advocate for public oral health at state and national levels.

Dr Warren Shnider Special Needs Dentist, The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne

Warren has worked in special needs dentistry in London and Melbourne in both the public and private sector. Working in the DHSV Domiciliary Van, Warren handles some of Victoria’s most complex and challenging cases treating special needs patients, aged care residents and prison inmates. He treats all patients with compassion and care, listening to them intently, involving them in treatment plans and promoting positive self esteem. As Clinical Academic Lead in Special Needs Dentistry at LaTrobe University’s School of Rural Health, Warren is actively improving the flow of new students entering the dental industry. He was the prime initiator in the development of a special needs speciality in the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons curriculum and plays an active role in improving the oral health of the Victorian community through his role as Councillor of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch. Warren works closely with public health professionals to increase clinical knowledge and advance the dental profession. He seeks to ensure that the invisible community—those in aged care, prisons and those living with disability—have a voice and are able to receive high quality and compassionate dental care.



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