UWA Dental School

(Reducing) Oral Health Inequities

Further Information

A-Z Staff Research Profiles


Staff publications

20122011 | 2010 | 2009 | 20082007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003

Staff Research Publications 

The overall goal of the (Reducing) Oral Health Inequalities Research Group is to undertake mixed methods research to provide high quality evidence which will assist in improving services, outcomes and reduce oral health inequalities. This work centres around three interdependent streams of research that inform each other - i) linked and total-population data, ii) qualitative methods to understand perceptions and contexts and iii) translation including writing policy. 

(Reducing) Oral Health Inequities

Program leader: Professor Linda Slack-Smith

Program members: Research A/Prof Angela Durey, Dr Helen Lette, Dr Martin O'Grady (Adjunct), Ms Emma Savage, Ms Cheryl Newman, Ms Jordanna Rebbeck. 

DMD students: Rachel Zhou, Henna Khan, Jessica Hunter, Alan Ratcliffe, Patricia Johnstone, Linh Truong, Yunyi Koh, Rabia Yosufi, Saime Serin, Shatha Saleh, Nur Natasha Mohamad Hisham, Hira Rind, Isaac Seguya, Russell Powell, Troy Ridgwell, Michael Shengheng Lai

Collaborators: Dr Martin O’Grady (UWA), Prof Sonj Hall (Prof Health Policy and Economics QUT), Prof Kate Tilling (University of Bristol), Prof Barry Gibson (University of Sheffield), Professor Sarah Baker (University of Sheffield), Prof Dawn Bessarab (UWA), Dr Dan McAullay (UWA, ECU).

Research Program Objectives

The key objectives of the Oral Health Inequalities Research Group are to:

  • Undertake narrative and systematic reviews to provide understanding of existing evidence for our research questions
  • Use total-population and data linkage to assist understanding of oral health and dental services use and understanding complex factors associated with oral health and health service use, particularly in vulnerable groups
  • Explore in-depth the issues, perceptions, attitudes and practices of key stakeholders (clients, dental professionals, industry providers, etc.) regarding the oral health of disadvantaged Australians and to better understand meaning of variables in our analyses
  • Work closely with key stakeholders to engage them in the research process from design to translation of research findings into improved policy and practice

Research Program Summary

It is slowly being recognised that oral health requires a substantial shift from treating advanced dental disease toward a multidisciplinary approach to prevention with increasing recognition of the need to better understand the social determinants that influence oral health inequalities. Such understanding is imperative for the design of effective prevention programs. Research conducted by the team will aim to adopt and review:

  • Innovative research approaches
  • Knowledge generation or system capacity improvement
  • Knowledge translation into policy and practice
  • Research capacity building 
  • Collaboration and engagement of consumers and end-users in the research process

Current Research Projects 

  • Incorporating dental professionals into aged care facilities
  • Oral health of Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) residents in aged care settings
  • Perceptions and beliefs regarding oral health of Aboriginal children and adults in Western Australia
  • Perceptions and models of dental care in the remote Kimberley region
  • Reviewing the oral health of people with mental health illnesses from the perspectives of dental professionals, mental health professionals, families and adults diagnosed with mental health issues


Professor Linda Slack-Smith was a Chief Investigator of the National Centre for Research Excellence in Primary Oral Health Care (CRE) that was formed through the collaboration of three Australian universities (Adelaide, Tasmania, and Western Australia). The CRE is funded with a grant of $2.5 million over 4 years as part of the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute through the Australian National University (ANU) financed by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. For more information please see National Centre for Research Excellence in Primary Oral Health Care (CRE).