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News / July 6, 2010

Applications invited for Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health) course

by Guy Hiscott

The Dental Health Foundation, in collaboration with the Health Service Executive and National University of Ireland, Galway, delivers a Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health) course annually.

The course is aimed at those working in a professional capacity in oral health, e.g. dental nurses, dental hygienists, dentists and/or those in a position to promote oral health.
The Specialist Certificate in Health Promotion (Oral Health) has been in existence since 1999, having been initiated by the Dental Health Foundation in response to the Department of Health and Children’s 1994 Dental Health Action Plan.
The 12-month, part-time course aims to provide participants with professional education and training in the principles and practice of oral health promotion. Over 140 students have successfully completed the course to date with a number of graduates going on to complete higher training in Health Promotion.
A formal evaluation of the course found that there have been positive and encouraging comments in relation to the effect that the course has had on graduates’ oral health promotion knowledge and practices. Following the evaluation of the course, the course materials were updated in 2008.

One successful candidate said:

‘Taking part in the OH Promotion Course in NUI, Galway, has added new and very positive dimension to my work as a dental nurse.  

‘I thoroughly enjoyed doing the course and will always be very grateful for the support and help from the lecturers. Researching and preparing assignments was a challenge and an achievement for me. I feel I learnt a lot and my confidence increased immensely.

‘Having worked as a dental nurse for many years, it was great to take on and achieve something new, and have the recognition and respect from my colleagues.

‘My work duties have changed immensely as a result of having qualified in Oral Health Promotion. I applied for, and was successful in, being appointed senior nurse in oral health promotion.

‘I have been involved in running programmes in schools, e-schools, parent association groups, mother and toddler groups, special needs groups, and traveller health groups.

‘The school programme has been suspended this year, unfortunately, due to cutbacks and travel restrictions. My colleague, who also studied with NUIG, and I covered all the schools in the area, running specially adapted programmes for each class. It was a service schools came to expect each year as part of their SPHE programme.

‘The dentists I work with call on me to give oral health advice to patients and parents when they attend for dental exams or treatment.

‘Having completed the course in OH Promotion has given such diversification to my job. It gave me the confidence to carry out my duties with conviction and pride, but also reiterated my awareness of the responsibility we all have to ensure the information we give our patients and clients is as up to date as possible and based on researched, evaluated evidence.’

Registration for the course is open until July 30th, 2010. Full details on the course, including an application form, can be found at