Community engagement is a proud part of Peninsula Dental School at the University of Plymouth, with dozens of students working alongside local organisations to benefit local people each year.
Now the largest cohort yet, more than 100 students, have planned, designed and delivered their projects – with just six weeks to complete them.
The annual Inter-Professional Engagement (IPE) module is part of the undergraduate curriculum for student dental professionals, and this year saw students work in groups alongside 14 organisations across Plymouth and the surrounding area.
While COVID-19 brought about challenges, the module was delivered in person, with students meeting more than 250 people in a COVID secure way.
Working collaboratively with their local community and host organisation, the module sees second-year students from the BDS Dentistry and BSc Dental Therapy and Hygiene courses at the University of Plymouth design and deliver a health improvement project.
Co-ordinated by Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) the module enables students to work with their community to adopt positive, healthy lifestyles. Co-production is at the heart of the work, providing opportunities to explore creative and engaging delivery styles working in partnership with their host organisation and neighbourhood.
The groups saw their planning culminate in a series of creative engagement activities including oral health training for staff at Four Greens Community Trust and Age UK Plymouth, dental awareness drop-ins sharing top tips for mouth care with Plymouth Community Homes residents, St Luke’s Hospice and Barnardos and a walk and talk session with Active for All.
Students also worked alongside teachers at Longcause Community Special School where they joined pupils in the classroom to hold a teaching session talking all things teeth, challenged Active Men Group at Elder Tree to an indoor curling competition and joined other health professionals and community colleagues at St Budeaux and Barne Barton Wellbeing Hub’s Health Fair.
The full list of host organisations were:
- Active for All at Improving Lives
- Plymouth Community Homes
- Brook Green Centre for Learning
- Longcause Community Special School
- Four Greens Community Trust
- Elder Tree
- St Luke’s Hospice
- Plymouth Soup Run
- St Budeaux and Barne Barton Wellbeing Hub
- Young Carers Group
- Age UK Plymouth
- Nurses for Children in Care Team
- Transforming Plymouth Together