Volume 9 • 2022 • Issue 6

Evolution of dental education In some ways, dental education has not changed dramatically for quite some time, but in other ways, it has. For instance, we are more responsive to student needs than ever before, and that is a great thing. We are also more focused on personcentred care, which is a great thing, too. Over the next 5 to 10 years, dental education will need to become more socially, operationally, and environmentally sustainable. and sterilization facilities, which unlike hospitals, are not directly funded by provincial governments. The cost of replacing equipment and keeping pace with changing infection control legislation in these facilities has become prohibitive. In many instances, in order to upgrade these facilities, universities are increasingly relying on industry and private donations. Evolution of dental education Dentistry has evolved onmany fronts over the last 5 to10 years. Increasing emphasis in oral systemic connections, risk profiles, patient-centred care and qualitative assessments of treatment outcomes have all been incorporated in our curricula. More recently, attention has been drawn to systemic biases in health care with poorer outcomes for Indigenous and marginalized populations. Training our future oral health care professionals to recognize these biases and be able to deliver equitable and patient-centred care across various patient populations is a priority. On the technical side, the digitization of our profession with the incorporation of robotics, AI and other emerging technologies will continue to revolutionize how dental services are provided in the 21st century and it is incumbent upon dental schools to keep up with the technological needs and provide this training to its students, our country’s future dentists and dental hygienists. School pride Our dental school was a signatory to the first anti-racism policy passed by a Canadian university. Additionally, our ongoing work as a group in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and inter-professional education allows us to continue to innovate in these fields. At the college level, we developed our new fiveyear strategic plan and as part of it we are launching a comprehensive curriculum review that will update our curriculum to cover the needs of oral health care professionals in the 21st century. Based on our curricular needs, we are also re-imagining our clinical and pre-clinical spaces and creating a plan for capital improvements. Our researchers continue to excel in their fields with a sustained and significant increase in grant funding. Challenges Our biggest current challenge is the attraction and retention of oral health care professionals in academia. The highly competitive job market for dental hygienists and dentists and the increasing student debt load has placed tremendous pressure on academic institutions. In some provinces, tuition caps or a decrease in educational budgets have resulted in academic salaries that have not kept pace with national and international markets, resulting in an inability to attract and retain faculty. Our second biggest challenge is our aging infrastructure. All Canadian dental schools own and operate large clinical School pride We are preparing for a complete renovation of our clinic and pre-clinic to provide a state-of-the-art learning experience for students and enhance the excellent clinic training provided by the USask College of Dentistry. Our mission is to embrace the entire dental team, and as part of that goal the college has strengthened its research capability and expanded programming. We will continue that effort with the August University of Manitoba University of Saskatchewan Dr. Anastasia KelekisCholakis, dean of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences Dr. Walter Siqueira, dean of the College of Dentistry CONTINUEDP. 30 29 Issue 6 | 2022 | Issues and People