Cathy Coelho

Academic profile

Professor Cathy Coelho

Professor of Dental Education
Peninsula Dental School (Faculty of Health)

The Global Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Cathy's work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

Goal 04: SDG 4 - Quality EducationGoal 05: SDG 5 - Gender EqualityGoal 10: SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

About Cathy

Cathy is a Professor of Dental Education and leads the state-of-the-art Simulated Dental Learning Environment at the University of Plymouth's Peninsula Dental School. Cathy oversees undergraduate simulation teaching and assessment for all 5-years of the Dentistry BDS programme and 3-years of the Dental Therapy DTH programme. She is responsible for the University of Plymouth's 93 chair dental simulation facilities, with 68 "phantom heads" in Plymouth, 17 "phantom heads" in Exeter and 8 "phantom heads" in Truro. She leads the team of supervisors who teach in these facilities and supports the running of CPD and in-house training courses.  In 2020 Cathy was awarded a National Teaching Fellow, and in 2022 was nominated as an inspiring women on International Women’s Day. Cathy chairs the University of Plymouth Faculty of Health's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee, and is proud that under her leadership all six Schools in the Faculty of Health have been awarded Silver Athena Swan charters; recognition of work that supports females and gender equality.  Cathy is a member of the steering group for the UK and Eire Clinical Skills Collaboration Group and a committee member of Dental School’s Counsel Assessment Alliance.
Cathy is the Module Lead for the BDS programme’s Clinical Dental Practice 1-3 modules and DTH programme’s Clinical Dental Practice 1 and 2 modules. She has an interest in 3D printing and immersive technologies.  Cathy's sustained track record of being an outstanding educator has been recognised over the years:
  • in 2015 when she became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • in 2016 when she was awarded an Early Career Educator Excellence in Teaching Award from the Association of Dental Education in Europe.
  • in 2017 when she was awarded a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence award by Advance HE.
  • in 2020 when she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by Advance HE.
Cathy is a Mental Health first-aider, Disability Champion and mentor for academic promotions, HEA fellowship and alumni. 
Cathy is the Safeguarding Lead and Designated Safeguarding Officer for Peninsula Dental School. Equality is at the heart of everything Cathy does. She celebrate the richness that diversity offers, whilst recognising that at times some people need support to be included. She participates in various forums that raise Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matters:
  • She is a founding and active member of the Peninsula Dental School’s Equality SAT
  • She set up the Peninsula Dental School's Student Equality Champions Group
  • She chairs the Faculty of Health’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
  • She sits on the University of Plymouth’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee 
  • She sits on the University of Plymouth's Athena SWAN Committee and is the Communications Lead for the Athena SWAN action plan
  • Nationally she sits on the Strategic Oversight Group of the Diversity in Dentistry Action Group, part of The College of General Dentistry 
As a dentist with 35+ years experience, she is passionate about educating dental clinicians for the future through passing on her skills, knowledge and by acting as a positive role model. 


Cathy believes teaching should be engaging, active and thought provoking to be effective. Cathy has studied adult learning theories in the literature and uses evidence-based strategies to underpin her teaching style.
Cathy delivers a wide range of teaching within Peninsula Dental School, mainly based on simulation in clinical dentistry to both the Dentistry programme and the Dental Therapy and Hygiene programme. 
Cathy is especially proud of the impact she has on students who are struggling to be successful, by designing and implementing an academic remediation process that has both short-term and long-term positive impacts on student outcomes.

Contact Cathy

C405, Portland Square, Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
+44 1752 586808