Nick Palmer and Ken Eaton awarded Faculty Medals

28 June 2021
4 min read
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Dr Nikolaus Palmer FFGDP(UK) graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1976 before practising as a General Dental Practitioner in Crosby for over 30 years, providing predominantly NHS treatment with a special interest in orthodontics. A founding member of the Faculty, he achieved the MFGDP(UK) and later Fellowship, and has been a committed servant of the Faculty for almost three decades. During this time, he served over 18 years on the Board, chairing the Research and Publications Committees, and also served as a vice dean and member of the Executive Committee.

With a strong commitment to dental education, for 25 years he has been a clinical lecturer, and later honorary clinical lecturer, at Liverpool Dental School – teaching and supervising undergraduate students of dentistry and dental therapy. A clinical advisor to Health Education England North West, he was a long serving dental foundation trainer, has mentored a number of overseas dentists working in the UK, and developed the dental practice in which he was a partner as a training practice. He also served the Faculty nationally as vice chair of the Education Committee and chair of the Examinations Committee, a role in which he led the development of the MJDF and the FGDP(UK) Diploma in Primary Care Orthodontics, and the re-development of FGDP(UK) Fellowship.

Beyond this considerable service, perhaps his most significant contribution has been in the development of three editions of guidance on the use of antimicrobials in dentistry - a subject on which he is a renowned authority, and which was the basis of his PhD (awarded by the University Liverpool in 2001). The first edition of the guidance, published in 2000, covered prescribing to adults in general dental practice, and in 2012 he expanded the scope, with the publication of the second edition, to cover prescribing to child patients. The third edition, published in December 2020, was expanded again to cover specialist as well as general dental care. It represents the culmination of over two decades of work which has contributed to a marked reduction in the number of inappropriate prescriptions in dentistry, and helped ensure that dental patients across the UK and elsewhere are prescribed the right antimicrobial, in the right dosage and for the right duration. The guidance is widely cited, has been consulted over half a million times in the last five years alone since it was made available online, and its relevance will only increase as the global problem of antimicrobial resistance becomes ever more acute.

Professor Kenneth Eaton FFGDP(UK) has worked in general dental practice, specialist practice and academic dentistry, edited several dental journals, and has lectured, taught and advised in over 30 countries worldwide. A registered specialist in both periodontics and dental public health, he is currently a visiting professor at University College London and honorary professor at the University of Kent, whilst he serves as chair of the British Dental Editors and Writers Forum, Trust Dental Tutor for East Kent, and as a committee member of the European Chapter of the Alliance for a Cavity Free Future.

Joining the Faculty in 1993, he was editor of Primary Dental Care from 2003 to 2013, of Team in Practice from 2008 to 2013, and of the first (2007) edition of Standards in Dentistry. He was also co-editor of the second (2004) and current (2013) editions of Selection Criteria for Dental Radiography, and of An introduction to Research for Primary Dental Care Clinicians (2010), which he is currently involved in updating. He is associate editor of the journals Community Dental Health and Clinical Experimental Dental Research, has published over 350 scientific works, and is a past editor of Oral Health and Dental Management and co-editor of the book Practical Periodontics.

After graduating BDS from the University of London, where he later completed an MSc with distinction and PhD, he practised dentistry in the armed forces, becoming director of the Royal Air Force School of Dental Hygiene. Later vice-president of the then British Dental Hygienists Association, from 1998 to 2003 he was the director of the National Centre for the Continuing Professional Education of Dentists. He is also a past president of the Education Research and Practice-Based Research Groups of the International Association for Dental Research and of the European Association of Dental Public Health.

Adviser to the Council of European Chief Dental Officers for over 20 years, he has also advised the World Health Organisation and the health departments of several European countries, was the first chair of the Platform for Better Oral Health in Europe, and  in 2008 he was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the Ovidius University of Romania. Furthermore, he was appointed as a special adviser to the House of Commons Health Select Committee’s inquiry into dental services in England, and he was scientific adviser to the 2009 World Dental Hygienist Conference in Glasgow.

He is a fellow of FGDP, as well as of the International College of Dentists, the Faculty of Public Health and the Higher Education Academy. He also holds the membership in General Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and is a full member of the National Conference of University Professors.

The latest awards of the Faculty Medal, conferred by the FGDP(UK) Board, were the final ones to be made by FGDP as it prepares to transfer into the College of General Dentistry next month. Previous winners include Shelagh Farrell and Mike Mulcahy.

FGDP(UK) Dean, Ian Mills FFGDP(UK), said,
“Nick and Ken are exceptional general dental practitioners who have made extraordinary contributions to the Faculty and to the dental profession, and who are ambassadors for our profession among other health professions and beyond. Their work has helped raise the standard of care experienced by countless dental patients, and their tirelessness and unsurpassed dedication set an example to us all. On behalf of the FGDP(UK) Board, it is my great pleasure and privilege as dean to award them both the Faculty Medal in recognition of their many admirable and significant achievements.”