June 2021

Volume 38, Issue 2

Obituary Michael Lennon 1943 – 2021



Professor Michael Lennon OBE, who died aged 78 on 9th April, was born and raised in Liverpool and qualified from Liverpool Dental School 1966. He had always been interested in wider perspectives in dentistry and in 1968, after a brief period in general practice, he studied for the Diploma in Public Dentistry at Dundee Dental School. On obtaining the diploma, with distinction in four of the six subjects, Mike was appointed by the University of Manchester as a Lecturer in Periodontology and Dental Public Health in 1969. He became a Senior Lecturer in Community Dentistry there in 1980. In Manchester he worked closely with Professor Phil Holloway, and together with colleagues such as Martin Downer, Denis O’Mullane, Andrew Rugg-Gunn, Cynthia Pine and statistician Helen Worthington, they established a Dental Health Unit, sponsored by Colgate through Graham Davies. The Unit carried out many clinical trials of differing fluoride dentifrice formulations, but also became a stimulating forum. One outcome of their constant discussions was the concept of providing part of undergraduate dental education outside the four walls of a Dental School in an environment reflecting that in which the students would practise. This approach, that became known as “Outreach”, was initially opposed by traditional dental educators, but was subsequently adopted by every dental school in the country. Mike and Phil were also designers and co-Directors of the groundbreaking trial of a Capitation system of remuneration of general dental practitioners for the Department of Health. Mike’s enthusiasm for what we now call evidence-based dentistry was also aroused in this period, working with colleagues such as Professor Bill Shaw. The aspect of education that he most enjoyed was the supervision of many postgraduate students. His challenging but supportive approach, and his skill in bringing out the best in his students was greatly appreciated by them. In 1985 he became the first Regional Dental Officer (part-time) for the North-Western Regional Health Authority, working with colleagues who had recently moved from the West Midlands, where fluoridation had been successfully introduced in 1966. Mike’s support for fluoridation now became a strong commitment, and he became Chairman of the British Fluoridation Society, a position he held from 1987 until 2012. There has probably never been such a passionate advocate of fluoridation. In 1989 he was appointed by the University of Liverpool to a Chair in Periodontology and Preventive Dentistry. The Chair was subsequently re-titled Dental Public Health. The University of Liverpool honoured him as an Emeritus Professor on his retirement. In 2003, he did not find the prospect of full-time retirement appealing. He moved to the University of Sheffield as Director of the school’s developing Outreach Programme. Under his leadership, the programme expanded so that every dental student spent six months working in NHS primary dental care. Maintaining his evidence-based approach, the roll-out of this programme involved a randomised controlled trial that demonstrated that outreach increased students’ ability to formulate realistic treatment plans. Mike retired from Sheffield in 2009 Mike’s immense commitment to Dental Public Health continued until prevented recently by ill-health. During his career he published over 100 articles in refereed journals, on a wide range of topics including fluoridation, capitation, periodontal epidemiology, establishment of new dental practices and the management of dental anxiety. His life-long concern about social injustice and health inequalities influenced much of his research. He was a busy referee for twenty journals and was in global demand as an External Examiner and as a Guest Lecturer. In 2010 he became Editor of this journal, a hugely time-consuming commitment he performed with distinction until 2016. A founder member of BASCD, he served the Association as secretary, 1977 – 1981, and President 1984 – 1985. His contribution to oral health was recognized with the award of the OBE in the Queen’s 80th Birthday Honours List. Away from work his interests included classical music, and he and Gill frequently attended concerts by the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras in Manchester, especially if they were playing music by Shostakovich, Prokofiev or Rachmaninov. His support of Everton F.C. was often sorely tried. His busy professional life would not have been possible without the support of his wife Gill, whom he met at Liverpool Dental School. They celebrated their Golden Wedding in December 2019. We extend condolences to Gill, to their children, Sarah, Helen, Kate and Christopher, and their nine grandchildren on the loss of a remarkable, lovable and irreplaceable man. GT 128

£10 single article

Other articles in this issue

Article Pages Access
Dental Public Health in Action: Investing to prevent: Description of an innovative approach to commissioning a supervised toothbrushing programme across multiple local authorities in England 66-70 Download
Psycho-social impact of malocclusion in adolescents in Kosovo 71-75 £10 single article
Promoting oral health among 6-year old children: The impact of social environment and feeding behavior. 76-82 £10 single article
Associations between oral health and general health: a surveywide association study of the NHANES 83-88 £10 single article
Barriers and enablers to skill-mix in the oral health workforce: A systematic review 89-99 £10 single article
Parents’ experiences of participating in health-promoting activities at a family centre for preschool children in Sweden 100-104 £10 single article
Oral health knowledge and practices in the Kaski District of Nepal 105-111 £10 single article
The effect of plaque control in the treatment of Oral Lichen Planus with gingival manifestations: a Systematic Review 112-118 £10 single article
Dental anxiety, child-oral health related quality of life and selfesteem in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis 119-126 £10 single article
Obituary Gill Bradnock 1944 – 2020 127-127 £10 single article
Obituary Michael Lennon 1943 – 2021 128-128 £10 single article
Racism and oral health inequities; an introduction [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Research symposium, July 2021, Boston, USA] 131-131 Download
Making science and doing justice: The need to reframe research on racial inequities in oral health [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Resea 132-137 Download
Effects of Racism on Oral Health in the United States [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Research symposium, July 2021, Boston, USA] 138-141 Download
A Critical Analysis of Underrepresentation of Racialised Minorities in the UK Dental Workforce [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Research 142-149 Download
Racism and oral health inequities among Indigenous Australians [Special issue of Community Dental Health, to be disseminated at the ‘Racism and oral health inequities’ International Association for Dental Research symposium, July 2021, Boston, US 150-155 Download


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