This combined non-clinical, non-thesis program allows students to advance their knowledge in dental public health, an area of dentistry focused in promoting oral health as well as preventing and controlling oral and dental diseases. The program encompasses education, fieldwork, and public service components that contribute to the health and sociocultural progress of Canadians. The curriculum is ingrained in critical thinking and evidence-based practice combining a broad spectrum of courses from the UBC School of Population and Public Health and the Faculty of Dentistry. The fieldwork experience comes in the format of a practicum involving community participation and research practice at local, national or international partnering organization. The practicum focuses on the assessment of the oral health needs of the community, specially the marginalized and disadvantaged; development and implementation of oral health policy; and provision of programs and services that address oral health issues of people with special needs, including not limited to First Nations, intravenous drug users, immigrants and refugees, and low income/working poor.
What sets the UBC program apart?
This graduate program is the only in Canada to be course-based and to offer two degrees, a Masters in Public Health combined with a Diploma in Dental Public Health. The array of faculty members teaching the didactic courses at the School of Population and Public Health and at the Faculty of Dentistry brings a diversity of expertise, experience and knowledge in the field of public health. The not-for-profit organizations and community connections enable students to have access to specific resources and hands-on opportunities that are ideal to the practice of dental public health. British Columbia in particular plays a unique role in dental public health in Canada via its five health authorities that currently have various dental public health initiatives targeting low-income families, pregnant women and Aboriginal Peoples, specifically within the First Nations Health Authority. The graduate students from this combined program can collaborate with these authorities via course work and fieldwork activities.
The Master of Public Health via the School of Population and Public Health is the most widely recognized professional credential for leadership in population and public health. Adding a Diploma in Dental Public Health, a non-clinical program in the Faculty of Dentistry, provides graduates with some of the basic skills to work in government, professional, and other organizations to become leaders in dental public health locally, nationally and internationally. It also gives students with a good background to purse a more research-focused degree such as a PhD, which is often required to enter an academic career.