Teaching and Treatment Clinic Under Construction in South Auckland

Dentistry Today
Photo: Jasmax Architecture.


Photo: Jasmax Architecture.

The University of Otago is building a dental teaching facility and patient treatment clinic in South Auckland to help meet high health needs while providing students with wide-ranging learning opportunities in a diverse community, according to the school.

University of Otago vice chancellor Harlene Hayne, PhD, says that by making a real difference in people’s lives and in a community’s health and well-being, the university will be living its strategic commitment to providing for the national good and improving lives.

The university also is committed to helping develop students into good citizens, and this project will create a community-focused experience that involves thoughtful giving and service, Hayne says. The project will begin later this year, with completion expected in 2020. 

The $28.2 million, two-story, 32-chair building will be built upon land owned by the Counties Manukau District Health Board at its Manukau Super Clinic. There, the Faculty of Dentistry will consult the community about its needs and provide a range of outreach activities, Hayne says. 

Paul Brunton, MSc, PhD, pro-vice chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences, calls project a win-win situation for the local community and the university. Students also will gain experience in providing dentistry to a community with very different needs than those in Dunedin.

“Patients are contributing to the education of the country’s future dentists, and, in exchange, they have access to high-quality dental care,” Brunton says. “This is an area with high dental need, and the community is underserved with access to dental care.” 

The new facility will follow the long-standing social contract model operated successfully in Dunedin, where patients receive treatment provided by students under supervision at a highly accessible cost, Brunton says.

Also, 48 final-year bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) students will be assigned to the Counties Manukau facility at any one time. Brunton says this work is possible because of a much valued relationship with the district’s health board and its joint Memorandum of Understanding. 

“The new facility will not only provide students with diverse practical learning opportunities but also increase their understanding of people from a wide range of backgrounds,” Brunton says.

The project will strengthen relationships and partnerships with Maori and Pacific communities as well, based on mutually beneficial goals incorporating patient care, research, and education. 

Plus, an Auckland base in an area home to so many oral healthcare professionals will also make it easier for them to access continuing education opportunities. The facility could help meet international demand for upskilling dentists as well, because Auckland is so accessible.

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