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Original Research

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

Submitted: 13 December 2006
Revised: 3 July 2007
Published: 14 August 2007

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Author(s) : Bazen JJ, Kruger E, Dyson K, Tennant M.

Jennifer BazenEstie KrugerKate DysonMarc Tennant

Citation: Bazen JJ, Kruger E, Dyson K, Tennant M.  An innovation in Australian dental education: rural, remote and Indigenous pre-graduation placements. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2007; 7: 703. Available: (Accessed 17 October 2017)


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

Key words: dental workforce, education, indigenous, pre-graduation placements, undergraduate.

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