Volume 9 • 2022 • Issue 6

Challenges Dental education in Canada is currently facing a human resource shortage at many levels, both in terms of faculty and support staff, including dental assistants and dental hygienists. Canadian dental faculties are experiencing a lack of specialized resources in many areas of dentistry. Attracting people to and retaining people in academic careers are major challenges. Dental schools are called upon to create innovative strategies for recruiting future dental educators. In addition, dental practice must be upgraded and evolve at the same pace as the evolution of knowledge and technology. Robotics, AI and communication tools are just a few examples of innovations that will inevitably affect traditional dental practice and require a rethinking of the way we practise dentistry and the accessibility of dental services and care for Canadians. School pride We are very proud of our community service program and our action plan for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Through our community clinics, we provide free dental care for priority members of the Montreal community who are not always able to afford or access dental care. Our service to the community stands as a model for other dental schools nationwide. Our EDI strategic plan focuses on developing concrete actions for ensuring that all members of our community feel safe, welcomed, valued, and heard, and is part of a larger effort spearheaded by McGill. We have created two admission pathways to establish equitable processes for welcoming students in the DMD program who are members of underrepresented groups. We are excited that the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences has been recognized in the top 50 of the 2022 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects. We continue to be a leader in dental and oral health research in Canada and worldwide. Challenges We need to have a sustainable health education ecosystem with a focus on our citizens’ priorities and needs. Canadian universities must address the historic underrepresentation of Indigenous and Black students in dental medicine programs. Unfortunately, many administrators, clinicians and researchers are not familiar with the concept of cultural competency and EDI principles. This should also be addressed quickly by creating an effective strategic plan, which can include free mandatory courses on these topics. All faculties need programs and initiatives to support the mental health and well-being of students and staff. We must also remain on the cutting edge of innovation and adapt our curriculum to keep up with advancements in dental technology. Like many other professional programs, we are facing academic shortages. We need more academic clinicians, especially those who have been trained in providing care to people with special health care needs. Robotics, AI and communication tools are just a few examples of innovations that will inevitably affect traditional dental practice and require a rethinking of theway we practise dentistry. Evolution of dental education Dental education is in a state of constant evolution. It has been affected by new technological tools, and also by the evolution of the main pedagogical principles in the transmission and acquisition of knowledge and the modalities of evaluation of learning. The teaching of different disciplines independently of each other is a thing of the past. Most Canadian faculties are now focusing on teaching by competency or integrating knowledge in a global manner. The teaching of one area of dental knowledge must be integrated with other relevant areas. Teaching modalities have already undergone major changes in recent years, in terms of simulations, the creation of multimedia tools and computer platforms. But the pandemic has accentuated the implementation, mastery and acceptability of new means and modes of learning by the training and regulatory authorities, teachers and learners. Access to dental studies and the parameters for selecting new candidates is another area where dental education stakeholders have been working for several years now. But in light of the new paradigms affecting all spheres of dental practice, the means and parameters of selection of future oral health professionals will also have to be re-imagined. McGill University Dr. Elham Emami, dean of the Faculty of Dental Medicine and Oral Health Sciences CONTINUEDP. 27 25 Issue 6 | 2022 | Issues and People