Supporting change for sustainability in Dentistry
AbstractThis article, firstly, reviews various initiatives over the last decade across Higher Education Institutions that are aiming to increase awareness of sustainability starting from making campuses green to educating for sustainable development. There is strong support from the Head of School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester and faculty buy-in to foster understanding and awareness of social and environmental sustainability among dental graduates. If plans to be made to further awareness of the principles which underpin sustainable development among dental students, we need to establish the baseline – where are we standing from? The second part of this article will therefore explore data collected during the first Sustainability Talk about students' perception of sustainability and their awareness of the benefits for dental practices to go green. 140 students from year 3 and 5 took part in the Sustainability Talk in September 2014 and data was collected using ‘clickers’. Data revealed that environmental aspects of sustainability are familiar to students on Dentistry courses at the University of Manchester. Analysis of data alludes to variations in perceptions among year 3 and year 5 students. A forum to bring together dentists, dental businesses (e.g. Colgate, Dentsply), academics and students should be considered. The debate should encompass Education for Sustainable Development and how to effectively deliver it within the current dental curriculum.