Society commits to further diversity improvements and welcomes new president

12 September 2023
Professor Paula Waterhouse.
Professor Paula Waterhouse.

As is traditional, the setting for the upcoming British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) Annual Scientific Conference will take place in the home city of the society’s incoming president. So, this year, BSPD members will convene in Newcastle from September 14 and 15, 2023, to not only share news, research and updates – but also to hear from the society’s president-elect, Professor Paula Waterhouse on the importance of driving diversity and inclusion in dental institutes’ curricula for graduates and post-graduates. Paula’s record of achievements includes nurturing generations of dental students and paediatric dentists, many of whom have now gone on to lead in their own areas.

Professor Paula Waterhouse, Newcastle University’s director of paediatric dentistry, will be taking over as BSPD president 2023/4 from Jenny Harris during the conference, which this year has the theme of ‘Tipping the scales – making a better and fairer world for children in the future’.

As well as her academic and teaching work, Paula has taken a leadership role in driving a refreshed curriculum perspective - that has anti-racism, diversity and inclusivity at the heart of its spirit and content. This is a direction which BSPD embraces, and the society’s intention during her presidential year is to support Paula’s work to help other dental schools, associations and institutes planning to go through a similar process.

Paula said, “Equality, diversity, and inclusion are existing priorities for BSPD, and work is ongoing to consult with members to ensure broad representation and content. So, I am looking forward to my year as president as an opportunity to share the ED&I research and recommendations I have been leading at Newcastle University.

“We know that vulnerable children are bearing the brunt of health inequities in our country. Making sure from the outset that every piece of teaching content, every message and every image reflects the diversity of our patients is key. We must respect our broad national community to help the generations of vulnerable children to come to grow up supported by the good and fair paediatric oral health services they deserve. Unconscious bias is a barrier that paediatric dentistry must tackle – and I am delighted that BSPD will be taking on this challenge in earnest during my presidential year.”