An innovation in Australian dental education: rural, remote and Indigenous pre-graduation placements

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Anticipating the looming crisis in access to dental services in rural and remote areas, the Western Australian Centre for Rural andRemote Oral Health developed an undergraduate rural placement program to provide dental students of The University of WesternAustralia opportunities for direct experience of rural and remote practice during the final year of the undergraduate curriculum. TheRural, Remote and Indigenous Placement program started in 2002 and, to the end of 2005, had placed 78 final year dental studentsin supervised clinical practice in rural, remote or Indigenous practice. In this study, the evolution of the program (2002-2005) isdescribed and student evaluation of the program is reported. While involved in the rural placement program, students wereassessed by experienced dental practitioners and provided program evaluation. This structured feedback allowed continuousimprovement of the program. Data from each year’s graduates was also analysed to examine the question of influence ofplacements on practice location during the first 6 months after graduation. Although it will be many years before the effects ofoutplacement programs can be specifically attained, the evidence to date indicates that the program may be a valuable tool amongthe plethora of strategies being investigated to augment Australia’s rural oral health workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalRural and Remote Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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