Dental expansion brings regional smiles

Dental expansion brings regional smiles

29 Apr 2011

A new dental teaching clinic at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus is set to get regional Victorians smiling.

ribbon cuttingOpened today by the Hon Peter Hall, Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills, the expansion significantly increases the access of La Trobe dental and oral health students to the latest technology in dental education.

The opening ceremony was attended by Professor Paul Johnson, Vice Chancellor and President, of La Trobe University, and Marika McMahon, Chairperson of Bendigo Health board.

Bendigo Health and La Trobe University will operate the new clinic jointly.

Professor Jane Farmer, head of the La Trobe Rural Health School, said the teaching clinic, which also includes a mini laboratory, will be used to treat regional Victorians.

‘Thanks to this new dental clinic, our dental program at La Trobe University is now a leading health training provider for regional Australians,’ she said.

The refurbishment and expansion of the Dental Teaching Clinic is part of a regional drive by La Trobe University to enhance health education and to address the needs of the community by bringing specialist dental care to regional areas.

The University’s dental facilities across Victoria are made up of a 64-chair simulation laboratory, 31 chair general purpose laboratory and the new teaching clinic. Around 70 students are enrolled each year in the dentistry and oral health science programs.

Professor Peter Wilson, Head of School of Dentistry and Oral Health said the new clinic would help provide students with first hand experience in some of the more complex technical activities of dentistry.

‘The 10 chair clinic and laboratory in Bendigo complements the excellent existing 10 chair teaching clinic, and together they set the benchmark for regional dental and oral health education,’ said Professor Wilson.

The new teaching clinic has been mainly funded through a State Government $2 million grant, with the balance of funds provided by the Federal Government as part of its overall contribution of $59.6m of the La Trobe Rural Health School project. Bendigo Health Executive Director, Community and Continuing Care, Liz Hamilton said that the new teaching clinic which receives ongoing funding from the Victorian Department of Health through Dental Health Services Victoria will now see the Bendigo Community Dental Clinic have a total of 29 chairs.

‘This expansion has been a great example of a health hervice working together with a university to provide high quality clinical experiences within regional Victoria, this will ultimately result in increased health practitioners and   an expanded clinical service to our community,’ said Ms Hamilton.

Project manager for the teaching clinic was Aurecon. The project team included Billard Leece Partnership (architects) Waterman AHW Consulting Engineers (services consultant), Donald Cant Watts Corke (quantity surveyor) and Building Issues (building surveyor).

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