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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Graduate dental education in Canada Boyd, Marcia Ann

Abstract

Until the mid 1960's British Columbia was dependent upon outside sources for its dental manpower. With a significant increase in population and a similar increase in demand for dental care it became apparent that British Columbia could no longer rely on the goodwill of other universities for the training of the province's dentists. As a result of two detailed studies authored by Dr. John B. Macdonald, a Faculty of Dentistry was established at the University of British Columbia in 1962 and the first undergraduate class admitted in September 1964. After ten years in operation it seemed appropriate to examine the question as to whether or not the implementation of a graduate studies program in the Faculty of Dentistry was justified. In order to provide an in-depth perspective as to the present status of graduate dental education programs a survey questionnaire was sent to all ten dental schools in Canada. The questionnaire dealt with three separate aspects of graduate dental education, namely: 1. the preparation for practice of a clinical dental specialty; 2. the preparation for a teaching and/or research career; and 3. the continued improvement of the existing professional dentist through continuing dental education. Undergraduate dental programs supply manpower to provide for the public's need for regular and routine dental care, while graduate dental education can provide qualified personnel for research, teachers for dental education, as well as dental specialists requiring the advanced skills to meet the public's need for special dental services. Consequently, the aim of both the undergraduate and graduate dental education programs is to provide the knowledge, skill and manpower to meet the dental health care demands of the community. With the advent of prepaid dental care plans, coupled with the public's growing awareness that it is their right to enjoy good dental health, it is clear that the increasing demand for service cannot be met by the undergraduate dental programs alone. Graduate dental education is the beginning of a partial solution to the problem. An analysis of the collected data, taking into consideration the dental care delivery system as it now exists in Canada, has shown that: 1. If undergraduate enrollment in dentistry is to be increased, not only in British Columbia but also in Canada as a whole, it is essential to provide the advanced training needed for personnel to staff the dental schools; 2. more research workers are needed if the answers to the major problems in the field of dentistry are to be found; 3. more clinical specialists are required if the public is to be afforded the treatment necessary in specialty areas; 4. many Canadian dentists pursue their graduate training at American institutions even though there are Canadian programs and positions available within these programs; 5. over the past five years dentists in Canada have demonstrated an increasing interest in continuing dental education programs. If the profession of dentistry is to achieve its ultimate goal of effective and economic treatment of dental disease, then it is of paramount importance for both undergraduate and graduate dental education programs to begin to deliver the professionally equipped personnel needed in Canada.

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