USYD | Petition Against the Teaching of Dentistry Life Sciences by Non-Dentists

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Petition to the Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Medical Sciences

We, the undersigned alumni of the Faculty/School of Dentistry from the University of Sydney, have become aware that there is a proposal for the Integrated Life Sciences unit, specifically the Oral Pathology department, to be made redundant and addressed instead within the School of Medical Sciences.

We believe that academics without dental and relevant specialised backgrounds, cannot comprehensively and adequately teach Oral Pathology and Oral Biosciences. Furthermore, we are concerned that important research for the advancement of our profession will be impaired by the proposed changes.

We believe that if the current proposal is carried out, the Sydney Dental School will not have adequate Oral Pathology and Biosciences teaching. This would significantly hinder training of future dental students, undermine the reputation of the Sydney Dental School, and also negatively reflect on the reputation of past dental qualifications from University of Sydney. We are also concerned that the changes threaten accreditation of our Dental School, which would further damage the standing of our degrees.

We understand that this change is only a part of multiple proposals for restructure in the School of Medical Sciences, but our concern is for Oral Pathology and the Oral Biosciences, both of which are critical for dental practice, safety of patients, and important for our School.

We petition for the following changes to the current proposal:

  • Only those parts of the Oral Biosciences NOT dedicated specifically to sciences of the oral cavity, should be considered for transfer to the School of Medical Sciences, and to leave Oral Microbiology, Oral Histology, Oral Physiology, Oral Development, and Dental Materials Science for teaching within the Sydney Dental School.
  • Experienced and expert long-standing staff who have been teaching these specific subjects should be valued and not made redundant as they are essential to the education of the dental students. This includes: Professor H. Zoellner and Dr B. Sarrafpour for Oral Pathology; A/Prof KA Nguyen, Dr P Vujovic, Dr JL Gao for Oral Biosciences.

With thanks for considering our petition,

Former graduates of the Faculty / School of Dentistry, The University of Sydney.