New ambassadors appointed to the College of General Dentistry

13 March 2021
3 min read
Published:

The College of General Dentistry has announced the appointment of two more ambassadors, Dr Louise Belfield and Dr Marina Harris, reflecting the college's commitment to the whole dental team.

College ambassadors, drawn from different backgrounds, provide strong advocacy for the mission and vision of the college.

More ambassadors will be appointed in the coming months as the college moves towards its historic, formal launch.

Professor Nairn Wilson CBE, honorary founding president of the college said, “I am delighted that Drs Belfield and Harris have agreed to become the latest additions to the college’s growing team of influential ambassadors. Collectively, the college ambassadors have a huge range of highly relevant expertise and knowledge, with opportunity to greatly increase awareness of the importance of the College and engagement in its further development. The college looks forward to working with Drs Belfield and Harris in realising the college goals of new leadership and support for all dental healthcare professionals and excellence in oral healthcare provision.”

In commenting on her appointment, Dr Belfield said, “It is a privilege to become an ambassador for the College of General Dentistry at a time when teamwork and collegiality are being recognised as paramount in high quality patient care. The college is leading by example in these areas, embodying the true spirit of the dental team. Each team member is recognised and held in high esteem, irrespective of title, education, or background, and I am excited to see new opportunities emerging for all of us. The college’s initiatives show that dental professionals can achieve their fullest ambitions precisely because of our different roles, not in spite of them, and I am proud to be a part of this inspiring organisation: It is only through working together that we can determine the future of our profession with a united voice”.

Dr Harris said, “I am honoured to accept the invitation to be an ambassador for the College of General Dentistry. This is a real opportunity for all members of our great profession to be united as one in the quest to elevate the standing of general dentistry for the good of all.”

Louise Belfield is a dental nurse, research scientist, lecturer, Health Education England dental clinical fellow, and National Examination Board for Dental Nurses trustee.

Louise trained as a dental nurse in Devon, qualifying in 2001. She has worked across a range of dental specialties at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust including community, special care, and emergency dentistry, and general dental practices across the region. Continuing to practice as a locum dental nurse, Louise gained a BSc (Hons) in human biosciences at the University of Plymouth, graduating in 2004, and went on to achieve a doctorate in immunology (2013), and a post-graduate certificate in clinical education (2014). She was awarded senior fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2019 in recognition of her continued contributions to dental education.

Louise’s research focuses on both the scientific and educational elements required for excellence in evidence informed teaching. In 2017 she co-founded the Oral Microbiome Research Group, as part of which she pursues her specialist interest in how oral bacteria modulate the function of the immune system and can drive oral and systemic diseases such as chronic periodontitis, oral cancer, and hypertension. Since 2017, Louise has led the development and implementation of a Year Zero undergraduate pathway into BSc dental hygiene and therapy, aimed specifically at dental nurses wishing to escalate their skills and widen their scope of practice. Louise is passionate about career development for dental nurses and is a proud advocate for recognition of the profession.

Marina Harris has been involved in dentistry for over forty years. After training in the RAF as a dental nurse, and then as a dental hygienist, Marina remained in the military for twelve years and then went on to work in a wide variety of primary dental care settings across the UK. Alongside her professional qualifications, Marina has gained an honours degree from the Open University, a master’s degree from Cardiff Law School, and a doctorate from the University of Portsmouth.

As a senior lecturer since 2002 and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Marina is passionate about advancing research into students and colleagues wellbeing. In addition to her role as teacher and mentor, she has created online well-being courses and support tools which she, along with a dentist colleague, delivers on a regular basis.

Driven by a mission to support future clinicians, Marina has always been passionate about widening the opportunities for members of the whole dental team. In addition to her role within undergraduate education of dental hygienists and therapists, she has also played an active role in furthering the education to widen the scope of dental nurses and dental technicians.

You may recognise Marina as a past-president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, or for her numerous roles in industry bodies which focus on the advancement of the profession. She is also a regular attender at national and global events as a speaker, organiser, and as an active participant.