A consultant orthodontist from University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust was recently awarded the prestigious Colyer Gold Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) – the highest accolade available from the College.
Karen Juggins, who is based at Royal Stoke University Hospital, was nominated for her significant contribution to the development of orthodontic standards and her role in launching the ‘Keep Stoke Smiling’ campaign to encourage young people to look after their teeth and promote a great smile. The medal was presented on March 8 at the Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Founded by the Faculty of Dental Surgery in 1951 to honour the service of dental surgeon and historian Sir Frank Colyer, the medal is awarded at irregular intervals "for liberal acts or distinguished labours, researches and discoveries eminently conducive to the improvement of natural knowledge and of the healing art".
Karen has been a consultant at Stoke since 2007, having completed her orthodontic training at University Hospitals Oxford and University College London. She is also an examiner for Royal College of Surgeons, a member of the College’s Clinical Standards Committee as well as chair of publications and media for the British Orthodontic Society (BOS).
She said, “I am absolutely delighted to be awarded the Colyer Gold Medal. I am truly honoured to have been nominated and it is humbling to be in the same company as the previous worthy recipients.”
‘Keep Stoke Smiling’ is a social media and community-driven campaign targeting teenagers and young adults to encourage and promote the benefits of looking after their teeth and was launched by Karen in 2018 after seeing the devastating effects of sugary drinks on her young patients.
She said, “What really made me decide to launch the campaign was the referral of a 10-year-old boy whose dentist wanted to know if orthodontics could help close the gap that would be left when his four front teeth were to be extracted due to dental decay. He told me he drank at least three cans of coke a day and took a can to bed with him at night. He needed a denture to replace his extracted teeth.”
Anjli Patel, director of external relations of the BOS commented, “It is so important that we reach out to all our communities and educate them about the importance of good oral health. Karen has worked tremendously hard and we are delighted for her. The BOS is now also supporting the wider ‘Keep Britain Smiling’ campaign, the creation of which ‘Keep Stoke Smiling’ has been responsible for.”
The campaign now has the backing of Championship football club Stoke City and Karen has ambitions for the English Football League to endorse and support the project nationally with dental health workshops in all primary schools and all schools to become ‘fizz free.’