Dentistry scholarships for Aboriginal Australians

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sydneyuni300The University of Sydney’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, along with the Rotary Club of Sydney, are leading an initiative to increase the number of Aboriginal people trained in oral healthcare to improve dental health in Aboriginal communities.

The Poche Centre has joined forces with the Armajun Aboriginal Health Service and the Centre for Oral Health Strategy NSW to launch the Aboriginal Oral Health Scholarships. The scheme will offer financial assistance for at least 24 Aboriginal people to study the Certificate III in Dental Assisting and/or the Certificate IV in Dental Assisting (Oral Health Promotion).

The project will provide training for Aboriginal people living in regional and remote areas of NSW to become qualified dental assistants and also assist pathways into higher education studies such as oral health therapy or dentistry. The scholarships will enable Aboriginal recipients to remain in their community and maintain employment and local activities.

Poche Centre director Kylie Gwynne said the initiative is an important bid to improve the health of Aboriginal people by increasing the number of Aboriginal oral health clinicians. “Aboriginal people are less likely to have received preventive dental care, and more likely to have untreated dental disease,” she said. “Poor oral health impacts on school attendance, nutrition, and the likelihood of developing chronic diseases. “We hope these scholarships build clear pathways for the Aboriginal oral health clinicians of the future. Improving the oral health of Aboriginal children is fundamental to closing the gap in life expectancy.”

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