March 2013

Volume 30, Issue 1

Editorial - The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry at forty: our professional project

Authors: J.E. Gallagher
doi: 10.1922/CDH_2013Gallagher03


Forty years ago The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry (BASCD) held its inaugural meetings. So as we embark on a new year and the 40th anniversary of our association, it gives me great pleasure as the 39th President to write the first editorial of the year. The aim of this editorial is threefold; first, to provide a brief overview of our association; second, to explore what it means to be a specialist association and in doing so draw lessons from social theory on the dynamic nature of professional groups; and finally, to outline some possible opportunities and challenges for the next decade. major organisational change of health and social care, particularly in England, which is just as significant, but changes that provide opportunities for advancing public health action. Theory of Professional Groups The second objective of this editorial is to look to the theory of professional groups to provide assistance with our understanding of our own association’s role in society and dentistry. An association comprises individuals with a shared body of knowledge and skills. Sociologists (Larson, 1977; Macdonald, 1995) argue that professional groups, once established, have to work at maintaining their ‘professional project’ (Figure 2). Within a profession, individuals specialise to focus on being at the forefront of a discrete body of knowledge and associated skills and thus, arguably, can be considered to have the features of a professional group in their own right. We as an association are involved in an ongoing ‘professional project’, which requires us to be proactive. History of BASCD The decision to establish The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry was taken at a meeting held at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in February 1973 (Figure 1). A founding committee was established from those present with its brief being to draft a constitution and consider the procedures for setting up the association. Two years earlier Geoffrey Slack (1972) had written to the BDJ highlighting a growing interest in community dentistry/dental public health within the dental profession (Anderson, 1984; Gelbier, 2010). The first meeting of the Founding BASCD Council was held in July 1973 and the officers are listed in Figure 1. The first scientific meeting was held on a Saturday in November of the same year in Birmingham. The first AGM was held in May 1974 at the Royal College of Surgeons when the first formally elected council included Professor PMC James as President; thus, our inaugural president held a two-year term of office, 1973-1975. As reported by Gelbier (2010), the founding leaders set out with two main goals. First, to “investigate the need and support for a specialist association where the population rather than the individual is the primary concern and where elements of social medicine and dentistry, sociology, epidemiology, biometry, statistics and delivery of community dental care are the main items of interest”; and second, “to consider appropriate training for community dentistry at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and the necessary training pathways in the NHS.” We, the current members and association owe our individual and corporate expertise and status, in no small measure, to the knowledge and skills and efforts of past members of this association. Furthermore, just as our founding fathers (and they were generally male), we face 2 Starting point BASCD was created from interested and committed dentists across community dental services and academia. The leaders of the group were largely Area Dental Officers from the public dental service (school dental service) and academics in community dental health. They worked hard to create the entity – it wasn’t just a fact of social life. Interested individuals had gained personal qualifications, taking the newly created Diploma in Dental Public Health at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the first diplomas being awarded in 1969. As 1974 approached they were preparing to move from local authorities into the NHS. To survive and to train the next generation with an interest in population oral health they realised the need to become established as specialists and consultants in this field and to be proactive in establishing similar committee structures and training programmes to established specialities in medicine and dentistry. More recently colleagues with an interest in special care dentistry have, with the support of BASCD, emerged to form Special Care Dentistry, supported by a public health case of need for specialist expertise, basing their association home with the British Society for Disability and Oral Health.


Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Editorial - The British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry at forty: our professional project 2-4 Download
Acknowledgement of Referees 5-5 Download
Dental Public Health in Action - Challenges encountered when conducting a dental health needs assessment of older people resident in care homes: experience from England 6-9 Download
Rare diseases with oral components: care course and quality of life 10-14 Download
Fluoridation and dental caries severity in young children treated under general anaesthesia: an analysis of treatment records in a 10-year case series 15-18 Download
Measuring determinants of oral health behaviour in parents of preschool children 19-25 Download
The self-reported oral health status and dental attendance of smokers and non-smokers 26-29 Download
Attitudes towards the use of fluorides for oral health among Islamic clerics in Kelantan Province, Malaysia 30-33 Download
The views of examiners on the use of intra-oral photographs to detect dental caries in epidemiological studies 34-38 Download
Caries experience and treatment need in adults with intellectual disabilities in two German regions 39-44 Download
Attitudes towards establishing a daily supervised school-based toothbrushing programme - determined by Q-sort methodology 45-51 Download
Oral health literacy comparisons between Indigenous Australians and American Indians 52-57 Download
Associations between oral health and height in an Indigenous Australian birth cohort 58-64 Download


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