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Celebrating excellence: oral practitioner of the year awards

07 August 2019

Recently, the Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapist Association (ADOHTA) recognised outstanding oral health practitioners who exemplify their commitment to oral healthcare and drive the profession towards excellence. Shireen Smith introduces us to some of the winners.

The winners were announced at the Modern Practitioner Conference gala dinner on 29 March 2019 in Brisbane, Queensland.

We would like to congratulate all dental practitioners who were nominated for the ADOHTA Oral Health Practitioner of the Year Awards – it is lovely to be recognised for the dedication and commitment you have contributed to the profession. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that ALL winners were also Dental Protection members, and they have given us permission to share this news with you.

Congratulations to our members below! We celebrate with you, on your outstanding achievements in your nominated fields.

Oral Health Practitioner of the Year Award 2019: Denise Higgins (NSW)

Denise is the epitome of everything that is needed to be the deserving recipient of this award.

She is awe-inspiring in her role as a lecturer and innovator and an avid advocate of the profession and the ADOHTA. Denise works with the ethos of “strive harder, work smarter and achieve more at all times”.

Congratulations to Denise on being the inaugural ADOHTA Oral Health Practitioner of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year 2019: Shauna McNaughton (NSW)

Shauna regularly volunteers with the Remote Area Health Corps to provide much needed oral health care in remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, as part of the Close the Gap initiative. It is through this work that Shauna has been recognised as the ADOHTA Volunteer of the Year for 2019.

Health Promoter of the Year 2019:  Julie Barker (QLD)

Julie has a long history of involvement in oral health promotion. Recently she has been involved in, and currently chairs, a global group called the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future. Julie is continually committed to the prevention of oral diseases and a proud oral health promoter.

Educator/Researcher of the Year 2019: Denise Higgins (NSW)

Denise is a world leader in simulation teaching, an innovative oral health inventor and an ambassador for change in oral health education. Denise is the futuristic face of oral health simulation teaching, an inspiring academic and 'change maker'. Her excellence and oral health reputation has been deservedly recognised with this award.

Professional Advocate Leader of the Year 2019: Judith Ottaway (WA)

Jude is seen as a leader within the Western Australian dental community, delivering continuing education seminars and events. Jude is often asked to mentor others, provide professional and clinical guidance and give advice on employment and advocacy.

Clinical Leader of the Year 2019: Denise Higgins (NSW)

The ground-breaking virtual reality environment that Denise has developed for students to practise within before treating patients has put Denise at the forefront, globally, of teaching excellence and clinical leadership. At the same time, it has increased the awareness of our profession outside the dental world. The media reports alone on this innovation reached 3.3 million people globally.

Note: Photos and information courtesy of ADOHTA

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