Fellowship for dental school academics

Two academics from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) have been awarded the prestigious Fellowship of the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners UK.

The two academics are: Ian Mills, dental National Institute for Health Research Academic Clinical Fellow (NIHR ACF) at PUPSMD, and partner at Torrington Dental Practice; and David Moles, Professor of Oral Health Services Research and Director of Postgraduate Education and Research at PUPSMD, specialist in Dental Public Health and Honorary Consultant in Dental Public Health.

David has been awarded his Fellowship Ad Eundem as a mark of the contribution he has made to the dental profession.

David qualified as a dentist at Guy’s Hospital and his early practicing career was spent in the Community Dental Service in London.  He has two Masters Degrees (Dental Public Health and Medical Statistics). 

He holds the Diploma in Dental Public Health of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and has a PhD in the Epidemiology of Oral Cancer. He has been a Medical Research Council Special Training Fellow in Health Services Research and held both lecturer and senior lecturer posts at the UCL Eastman Dental Institute. 

He served a spell as the Eastman’s Director of Education Operations before relocating to the South West in April 2009 to take up the post of inaugural Director of Postgraduate Education and Research at Peninsula Dental School.

Ian was appointed in 2010 as the first Academic Clinical Fellow (ACF) at Peninsula Dental School and is one of a handful of pioneering NIHR ACFs in General Dental Practice in the UK.

Ian qualified from Glasgow in 1987 and spent a number of years in oral and maxillofacial surgery before moving to Torrington in Devon to set up his own practice in 1997. He joined the Peninsula Dental School in 2008 as a Clinical Supervisor and Year 3 Facilitator prior to his appointment as an Academic Clinical Fellow. Ian continues to work at his practice part-time while combining his commitments at the Dental School and studying for his PhD.

Ian said: 'I am delighted to have been awarded the Fellowship which is a great honour, but also a considerable relief. Although very rewarding, it has been a lot of hard work and has meant that I have been unable to focus on my PhD or the practice as much as I would like to have done.'

The dental course at PUPSMD is based in primary care and one of its key aims is to establish a network of research active dental practices within the South West. Most dentistry in the UK is carried out in general dental practice, yet little research is published by general dental practitioners.

It is hoped that providing research training opportunities for dentists, such as Ian and his colleagues, will help promote research in primary care and eventually redress this balance.

Ian added: 'There are many barriers to conducting research in general dental practice, but by establishing research networks we can at least provide the skills and knowledge to local practitioners and hopefully encourage them to become research active.

'My own doctoral research is focused on patient-centred care and how this can be measured effectively in dentistry within the NHS. It is incredibly interesting and should be highly relevant given the proposed changes within NHS dentistry which are currently being piloted.'

David Moles, Professor of Oral Health Services Research at PUPSMD, commented: 'Those of us who work with Ian will not be in the slightest bit surprised that he has achieved this success. Ian epitomises all the qualities that the Fellowship embodies. He is dedicated to self-development and personal improvement; the highest standards in practice; the promotion of the pivotal role that primary care should have within research and policy agenda setting; and most importantly recognition that the patient should be firmly at the centre of care (indeed, this is the subject of his on-going PhD research). My colleagues and I would like to congratulate Ian on his very well-deserved achievement.'

Professor Ken Eaton, Board Member at the Faculty of General Practitioners UK, said: 'David is deeply committed to promoting research in primary care and has encouraged and supervised a number of general dental practitioners in the South West of England to undertake part time PhDs. He has set up a training programme for general dental practice Academic Clinical Fellows that both supports the FGDP(UK) Route to Fellowship and aims to create a core group of practitioners who are equipped to lead both education and research based in primary dental care. I am delighted that he has been awarded the Fellowship ad eundem of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK), The Royal College of Surgeons of England.'

More information is available by logging on at www.plymouth.ac.uk/peninsula and www.torringtondental.co.uk.

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