Landmark European award win for dental care professional

An academic from the University of Plymouth has become the first dental care professional to win a prize at the Association for Dental Education in Europe (ADEE) awards.

Clare McIlwaine, programme lead for BSc Dental Therapy and Hygiene (DTH), won the Oral B Inter-professional Educator award, becoming the first dental care professional – rather than dentist – to win in any ADEE category. 

The IPE award’s sole recipient, Clare was selected following entries from dental schools across the continent. She collected her award at the ADEE ceremony in Berlin, Germany last night.

Her work has focused on making Inter-Professional Education (IPE) the core of the BSc programme; facilitating shared learning with the University’s BDS Dental Surgery students.

The DTH course is three years long compared with dental surgery’s five, but year one sees all students share teaching, learning and assessments. Where scope of practice overlaps, the shared teaching continues into year two, along with clinical working in year three. 

Clare explains that this innovative way of working at the University of Plymouth helps to prepare students for collaborative settings in their future career.

She said: 

“In order to provide effective, patient centred, shared care, the dental team need to work together and understand each other’s roles in the provision of patient care. Although a dental therapists’ and dentists’ roles differ, we are all ultimately striving for the same thing, so it’s great that we’ve been able to implement this innovative way of working into the very core of the curriculum at Plymouth. I’m so pleased to have been recognised by the ADEE for my role in designing and implementing this curriculum, and look forward to welcoming more dental professionals of the future to our programmes.”

Clare has also led trips to New York University, Tufts and Harvard School of Dental Medicine to further develop Inter-Professional Education opportunities.

Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of Peninsula Dental School at the University of Plymouth, said: 

“Clare’s work has been outstanding – the shared curriculum promotes inter-professional skills in environments akin to real-life practice, and has been extremely well received by students. The programmes’ integration has placed Peninsula Dental School at the forefront of dental education, and her award is thoroughly deserved.”

Clare McIlwaine; Dr Ronald Gorter, ADEE Executive panel member; Professor Stephanie Tubert-Jeannin, ADEE President; Anja Borrer, P&G

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