CENTRAL west dentists have played a key role in developing the dentistry course at Charles Sturt University (CSU) as tutors and role models for students.
Clinical director of the School of Denistry and Health Sciences Dr Heather Cameron said about 70 per cent of dentists in Orange were supporting students in the course.
“We really couldn’t run the course without their support,” she said.
First, second, and third-year dental students are preparing for final examinations, with fourth-year students completing their examinations this week.
“As well as the support of dentists from Orange and Bathurst we also have dentists from other regional centres such as Young, Taree, Canberra, Wagga, Albury, Wodonga and Dubbo who provide assistance for our students when they are on placement,” Dr Cameron said.
Orange dentist Dr Tim McAnulty was one of the first to put up his hand to be involved when the School of Dentistry was established at CSU’s Orange campus in 2009.
Dr McAnulty knows the challenges that face young people living in rural and regional areas who want to pursue a career in dentistry.
“I finished high school in Gilgandra and had to travel to Sydney to study dentistry at university,” he said.
“It was, and still is, very difficulty for country kids to be able to study dentistry in Sydney.
“Having a dentistry school here in Orange is something we couldn’t have dreamed of 10 years ago.”
Dr McAnulty says attracting dentists to rural areas has always been a challenge, but the network established by involving regional dentists in the course at CSU shows promise in turning the situation around.
“It will be very exciting when our current fourth-year students graduate next year,” he said.
In their fifth and final year, the 34 dental students who will be the first to graduate from Orange, will spend several months working in clinical situations at the Wagga Wagga and Bathurst CSU campuses.
There are 170 students studying dentistry at CSU’s Orange campus, with another 40 places offered for first-year students next year.