The University of Saskatchewan University Council has approved its first graduate program in dentistry. The PhD in Precision Oral and Systemic Health (POSH) is designed to graduate students with the skills required to become highly qualified researchers and policymakers capable of designing and conducting research that impacts oral health, precision health, and public and population health.
“This milestone is the result of more than a year of hard work by a very dedicated team, and I’d like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Walter Siqueira (DDS), associate dean academic, and Dr. Petros Papagerakis (DDS), associate dean research, who spearheaded this work,” said Doug Brothwell, DMD, dean of the College of Dentistry.
“Over our tenure as a college, we have built a strong reputation for graduating some of the top clinician dentists. This is an exciting time for our college as we move forward and establish our reputation as a research-intensive college,” said Brothwell.
The implementation of the PhD program is an achievement for the college, which is in the midst of a multi-year transformation emphasizing research performance and productivity among other priorities, the school said.
Over the past three years, the college said, it has increased its research capacity by expanding its faculty complement to include five members with PhDs, recruiting three internationally recognized researchers, and now implementing the POSH PhD. POSH will create an enriched and research-intensive environment in the college, it said, which will develop from mentorship and collaboration among students within and beyond their research teams.
Brothwell said POSH will focus on the integrative “body to mouth” concept. The program isn’t restricted to individuals who have graduated from a dental school, so there is an opportunity to attract students from a variety of disciplines, he said.
The “body to mouth” concept will give students opportunities to focus on precision techniques and approaches or translational oral and public health approaches, the college said. Research topics are expected to range across biomedical, precision health, public health, public policy, Indigenous and priority population health, and bioengineering while remaining connected to oral health.
The college will accept the first cohort of students in September starting with a projected enrollment of seven, growing to 28 after four years. POSH has been set up to produce wide-ranging benefits across the college, Brothwell added. PhD students and supervisors will contribute to cross-program activities, provide mentorship to junior students, and act as role models for those considering PhD studies, the college said.
“This is the start of a new era for the college,” said Brothwell, “one where we are the dental school that the world needs.”