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School of Dentistry and Oral health
Head of School

Welcome to the August 2020 edition of the School of Dentistry and Oral Health newsletter.

As we enter the last third of this disturbed, trying and challenging year it is both pleasing and rewarding to see that our return to teaching has progressed smoothly with high engagement in on-line learning, very positive and helpful student feedback and strong commitment to the re-designed pre-clinical and clinical activities. Our patients have also shown their confidence in our ability to safely and professionally deliver their care with high numbers of occasions of service and numerous and heartfelt compliments to our students and staff. Our research activity has also maintained its momentum in difficult circumstances with staff and HDR candidates busy writing and publishing a number of papers during this period.

Our School's high performance has again been recognised in the Shanghai ranking for Dentistry with it being ranked equal third in Australia. Furthermore ‘The Good Universities Guide’ has us again topping the list of Australian universities offering a Dentistry programme. It is only through a huge collective effort from staff and students that these results are achievable. This year's challenges have shown our ability to be flexible, innovative, and bold and this – combined with our commitment to education and research - will allow us to further advance and to navigate future challenges. ‘Adversity is the mother of progress’ (Ghandi).
Prof Robert Love

Senior Appointments

A/Prof Marcelo da Silva Figueredo
We are pleased to announce that Associate Professor Marcelo da Silva Figueredo has been appointed to the role of Deputy Head of School (Research) for the next three years. Marcelo's experience and passion for research puts him in a good position to continue our strategic work on the School's profile nationally and internationally.

We would like to acknowledge the tremendous work that Associate Professor Raj Nair has done over the last few years in this role and thank him for his contribution to the development of research within the School. Raj has plans to concentrate on his own research and has agreed to continue in the position of HDR Convenor, in which he has developed a wealth of knowledge about this complex and growing area.

A/Prof Jane Evans
We are happy to announce Associate Professor Jane Evans has been re-appointed as Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching). Jane will build on the strong framework that she has established in L&T over the last three years and will focus on the School's and Group's L&T strategic plans.

We look forward to the ongoing planning and development of our School and to the valuable input our Deputy Heads of School will provide. 

Excellence in Learning and Teaching

By Associate Professor Jane Evans, Deputy Head of School (L&T)

Our School is committed to high quality learning and teaching and providing students the best possible experience. The Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor Commendations in 2019 were awarded to: Mr Andrew Cameron, Mr Steve An, Dr Tiago Braga, Dr Navodika Yaparathna and Dr Jamie Arthur for their excellence in teaching. Tiago wins the consistency award (if there was one) for achieving excellence for the past five years. Navodika (2018) and Steve (2017) have also previously been named as excellent teachers. The Teaching Excellence Commendation is drawn entirely from student feedback.

BRAGA, Tiago 2020
Dr Tiago Braga

Navodika Yaparathna
Dr Navodika Yaparathna

AN Steve square
Mr Steve An

ARTHUR_Jamie 2020 square
Dr Jamie Arthur

Mr Andrew Cameron
I would also like to acknowledge the adaptability and flexibility the whole DOH team have shown so tirelessly over the past few months and particularly in their determination to deliver quality education to our student community. We have had to deliver much of our curricula online using new technologies and techniques, all with little time to prepare or experiment.Some highlights: 
  • The start of the Dental Hygiene program has provided positive learning experiences for its students and the feedback is uniformly positive.
  • Orthodontic teaching delivered via one of our online platforms has engaged students in many dynamic sessions. One student reported that the “ULTRA live lectures were amazing, had a sense of purpose knowing there was a live class to attend (rather than watching lecture recordings in my own time) was able to discuss via the chat function and freely ask questions- felt more like a tutorial than a lecture which really helped with learning.”
  • First-year students across the DOH Programs acknowledged and appreciated the re-organisation of course content and the constant communication from course convenors and program directors. 
  • The pandemic was not the only thing that was new to our School. This year, we launched the Dentistry Curriculum Refresh across all five years. The dentistry academic team were guided by sound leadership through the maze of change by constantly communicating and engaging with one another and meeting with student representatives. 
  • Feedback from a 2nd year dentistry student included, “The course convenors were great coordinators.” Others were “very happy with the quality of course despite the impact from COVID-19.” Another thought the “mini assignments” helped to keep them on track.
  • Third year dentistry students acknowledged course convenors and program directors for their guidance and knowledge.
  • While 4th years appreciated the organisation of paediatrics and the prosthodontic sessions with increased engagement.
  • Final year dentistry students absolutely loved the pros treatment planning sessions.

Congratulations to those who have earnt recognition and thank you to all the DOH team for creating engaging, motivating and intellectually stimulating learning opportunities for our students in these challenging times.

A/Prof Jane Evans
The New Normal

Sim Lab editedSim Lab edited
Third year dentistry students in the Sim Lab
While the rest of the academic world of was discovering the challenging joys of online teaching, in June 2020 the School began its staged return to face-to-face teaching in the pre-clinical labs.

Meeting the stringent requirements necessary to ensure the health and safety of staff, students and the wider community has been a considerable a challenge, but one mastered by all involved. Particular mention should go to Dr Lirio Calderon-Gomez, the Technical Services Health team leader and to her colleagues Paula Tong and Belinda Davies in the Sim Lab, and Helen Monaghan and Kylie Mortimer in the Pros Labs. As well as assembling and writing detailed protocols, risk assessments and other documents the team placed signs and stickers on countless surfaces, prepared and packaged PPE and produced 100s of sets of materials for classes in order to reduce the handling otherwise necessary. Rigorous cleaning schedules were devised, orientations conducted and new timetables created to reduce the number of students in each session without compromising their opportunities to learn.

Pros Lab central
First year dental prosthetic students in Pros Lab
By the end of July almost 800 hours of tuition and access to first-rate facilities will have been provided to around 300 students of dental technology, prosthetics and dentistry, and provided safely, accessibly and reliably by our outstanding team of academic staff and our sessional colleagues.

In the Dental Clinic, staff and students have been adapting really well to the new clinical environment in the COVID-19 era. This includes following the clinical treatment protocols, social distancing between operating chairs and adhering to restriction levels on clinical procedures as they gradually ease. Under these circumstances, it is a great achievement that clinical operations have successfully re-started with a weekly patient flow of 1,200 occasions of service per week. 

The Coronacle

The DOH Coronacle

Faced with lockdown, homebound and unsociably distanced DOH staff found a creative and fun way to stay connected and keep spirits up. An e-newsletter was conceived and (tastelessly) named The Coronacle. For eight weeks staff virtually embraced, sharing memes, jokes, videos, tick-tocks, stories, photographs, memories, fun facts and music. Themes included:

  • Light thoughts for Dark Times.
  • We are all in this together, but apart: What do you miss about the office?
  • Social Distancing Edition: What do you like about lockdown? 
  • States of Origin: Where did you grow up? 
  • A Song In Our Hearts: What record (or MP4) you would take with you to a desert island and why? 
  • Dreaming of Escape: Your best holiday ever.
  • When I grow up: When you were little, what did you want to be? 
  • The Re-Start Edition: What are you looking forward to doing?
Three Minute Thesis (3MT)


Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an academic competition that challenges HDR candidates to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. The competition aims to professionally develop the presentation and research communication skills of all participants, honing their ability to effectively explain their research in a language that can be understood by a non-specialist audience. 

We are pleased to announce three HDR candidates have been selected from DOH to present their research topic in the 3MT Griffith Health Competition 2020, to be held in August 2020. We wish the following candidates the best of luck:

Manju S Pitchai - Integrin: Stay connected and express yourself
Eliza Renjit - Keratin enhanced bone healing
Mishel Shadid - Access Denied: A journey towards oral health

Find out more >
Health in the Spotlight

Mohit Tolani 2020
Dr Mohit Tolani
During Griffith University's virtual Open House, Health was in the spotlight from 3 to 7 August. An online webinar event 'Healthcare and wellness: the changing health needs of Australians' was held on Thursday 6 August, when a panel discussed the ways in which high levels of personal health can create a healthier community.
The panel was hosted by Griffith alumnus and Baseball Australia's Manager of Junior Engagement, Scott Hellier. He was joined by a number of health professionals including our own Dr Mohit Tolani who graduated from Griffith with a Graduate Diploma of Dentistry in 2016. Mohit has a keen interest in public health and has created several programs in rural and regional areas that aim to improve community health through education. You can read more about Mohit's story in the Griffith Health Check blog.

 Find out more >
Student Bursary Empowering Women

Emilia Mungford and Jane Evans_edited
L-R: A/Prof Jane Evans and Emilia Mungford
Emilia Mungford, a first year Bachelor of Dental Technology & Bachelor of Dental Prosthetics was recently awarded a National Council of Women of Queensland (NCWQ) bursary for her leadership, community service, perseverance and determination. She is one of two successful nominees to receive the regional Queensland first year student bursary.

The work of the NCWQ is focused on the empowerment of women and families and to promote equal status for women in law and fact, and to develop policies and responses on behalf of women on a statewide basis.

Emilia commenced her studies at Griffith University with the School of Dentistry and Oral Health after spending time working in an orthodontic practice during her gap year after high school. Emilia’s journey to University started as a year 10 student when she took part in the University Head Start program (Human Anatomy and Physiology) where she gained insights into health and health promotion. During school Emilia also participated and coordinated a number of community fundraising activities for Relay for Life (Queensland Cancer Council) and Pink Ladies (National Breast Cancer Council). Now, Emilia is an active member of the Griffith University Dental Students Association (GUDSA), she is excelling in her studies and is really enjoying learning about removable prosthetics.

Congratulations to Griffith Alumni Max Moody

Awarded Griffith Health's 2020 Outstanding Young Alumnus award winner

Dr Max Moody was announced as the Health Group Winner for the Outstanding Alumnus Award 2020. Max graduated from Griffith with a Graduate Diploma of Dentistry in 2015 and has successfully forged a health professional career with the Royal Australian Air Force. It is Max's dedication to helping disadvantaged communities and mentoring others that supported Max's nomination for this award. Read more about Max's story in the Griffith Health Check blog and more on his fellow 2020 Alumni Award winners here:
Find out more >
Dental Clinic reaches milestone

Dental Clinic Empty reduced
The Griffith University Dental Clinic has recently registered its 100,000th patient. This milestone is a result of the hard work of staff and students. It reflects the high quality education and patient management and the trust gained from the community over the years. We look forward to registering and treating our next 100,000 patients. 
Read the full story of the 100,000th patient in the clinic in the Griffith News.

Find story here > 
Supporting L&T Projects

Congratulations to DOH academic staff on gaining Health Group Performance Based Funding available to support their Learning and Teaching projects as follows:

Team: Dr Vanessa Reher, A/Prof Jane Evans and Prof Peter Reher.
Creating active learning resources to improve sustainability of communication skills course.
To create digital active learning resources for communication skills.

Team: A/Prof Roy George, Dr Andrea Rung, Dr Megan Gray, Dr Mohammed Meer, Prof Anut Itthagarun, Johnathan Rob (student) and A/Prof Gary Grant, School of Pharmacy.
Project: Virtual reality in enhancing students learning and preparedness for employability.
To further develop an online 3-D virtual reality dental clinic for professional education and training.

Team: Dr Jane Manakil and Dr Megan Gray
Project: Enhancing employability: 
Development of software for oral diseases interactive learning.
To further develop an online interactive learning tool to practice the interpretation of radiographic images for diagnoses and management.

Griffith University Dental Students' Association (GUDSA)

COVID-19 restrictions have not put a hold on GUDSA’s activity in trimester 2!

GUDSA_medley of cases_radio ad
Our Australian Dental Students’ Association (ADSA) representative and 2nd year Dental Science student Gihyeok (Jason) recorded a podcast with fellow 2nd year student, Afnan Rahman and current Vice President and 4th year student, Chrishan Fernando. The theme for the podcast was “Dental Mythbusters”, where misconceptions both from a student, dentist and patient view were discussed. There were some very interesting topics and anecdotes from the clinic and advice for current and future students. 

The Sporting Committee is proud to be running the GUDSA Fitness Challenge this trimester, which offers participants weekly fitness challenges for a chance to win cash and prizes! It has been extremely encouraging to see participants being active, having fun, and promoting health and fitness during these crazy times. We hope to resume larger group sporting activities in the future when it is safe to do so, including our weekly Wednesday Dodgeball nights, but in the meantime, we hope everyone remains active and healthy!

Furthermore, we recently received guest lectures from Dr Norah Ayad, President of the ADAQ, and our very own Dr Nazir Mahomed. These presentations, broadcast via Zoom, were very well attended and our students gained immeasurable knowledge. Finally, during the upcoming mid-trimester break, we are hosting a social mixer with the Medicine students at TopGolf. Tickets to this event sold out in less than two days and we all very excited for the night already! More events will be announced as social restrictions continue to relax. We’re super excited to see everyone out of scrubs!

By Dominique Pozzi (President), Chrishan Fernando (Vice-President), Claire Greer (Head of Social Committee) and Divya Patel (Head of Sporting Committee)
Find out more >
News and updates

We are pleased to announce the following members of staff have been reappointed: Dr Navodika Yaparathna, Dr Matthew Yakimoff, Dr Deepak Ipe and Ms Mandie Kershaw. Ms Urvashnee Govender has been reappointed to her role as Program Director for Bachelor of Dental Hygiene.

Congratulations to Dr Khaled Ahmed on his appointment as an Examiner for the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons Membership program (MRACDS). The College’s MRACDS program presents dentists with a valuable opportunity to enhance their knowledge, training, and clinical skills, leading to the award of Member status. The attainment of Member status signifies to both patients and peers the individual’s commitment to life-long learning, and high ethical, clinical, and professional standards of practice, whilst progressing towards becoming a Fellow. 

Congratulations to Tiarnee Iddles, 2nd year Bachelor of Dental Health Science student, on being awarded a Dental Officer Undergraduate Sponsorship in the Australian Army. Tiarnee is the sole recipient of this award for 2021.

Health and wellbeing

Dental Health Week 2020
It was Dental Health Week from the 3 - 9 August 2020. Sponsored by the Australian Dental Association, Dental Health Week aims to educate Australians about the importance of maintaining good oral health in every aspect of their lives. 

The focus of this year's campaign challenged Aussies to consider "How Much Sugar is Hiding in your Trolley?". Learn more about Dental Health Week by visiting the campaign website to listen to the 'Sugar Savvy' podcast, join the email series and check out the oral health tracker.
Find out more >
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