Colgate Eminent Speaker

Professor Sarah Baker

Professor of Psychology as applied to Dentistry. School of Clinical Dentistry.

The University of Sheffield, UK

The title of presentation:

"Are we there yet? The contribution of social and behavioural sciences to oral health"

Short bio:
Professor Sarah Baker BSc, PhD, C.Psychol, AFBPsS is a Professor of Psychology as applied to Dentistry at the School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield and Chartered Health Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. She is currently Head of the Unit of Oral Health, Dentistry and Society in the School of Clinical Dentistry which incorporates paediatric dentistry, orthodontics, primary dental care and dental public health. She is Editor-in-Chief of the international flagship journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology; the first social scientist to become Editor of a Dentistry, Oral Surgery and Medicine journal. She is Past President of the Behavioural, Epidemiologic, and Health Services Research group of the IADR, and has received many international awards for her contributions to social and behavioural sciences in dentistry. These include the prestigious 2018 International Association of Dental Research, Distinguished Scientist Award for Behavioural, Epidemiological and Health Services Research, and the 2013, 2016 and 2022 IADR Giddon Award for Distinguished Research in the Behavioural Sciences. She has an Honorary Professorship at University College London, and holds an Honorary post in the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (formerly Public Health England). She has authored 250 peer-reviewed publications, and been awarded over £8.5 million in research and consultancy income. She was a co-author on the recently published "Consensus Statement on Future Directions for the Behavioral and Social Sciences in Oral Health" published in the Journal of Dental Research (JDR), which highlights the current state of knowledge in the behavioural and social oral health sciences and identifies future directions for the field. Her central research interest is the examination of the psychological, social and behavioural factors which influence how individual’s experience oral health conditions. Understanding the role of such psychosocial factors allows her to explore potential mechanisms by which oral health impacts on an individual's quality of life and well-being and, in turn, develop, implement and evaluate intervention strategies to improve oral health both within clinical practice and for public health dentistry. She has collaborated with dental researchers around the world on a diverse range of projects from gum health, oral health inequalities, dentine hypersensitivity, dry mouth, dental caries, head and neck cancer, gerodontology, orthodontics, dental anxiety, to systems science and implementation of evidence-based care. 

Summary of presentation:
The social and behavioural sciences are central to understanding and addressing dental, oral, and craniofacial health, diseases, and conditions, and are relevant to every discipline in dentistry. This presentation will highlight some of the ways in which the knowledge, methods and theories from social and behavioural sciences can help advance our understanding in oral health and has the potential to deliver more effective strategies for the complex challenges we face in dentistry. Many of these big challenges or Wicked Problems are multi-component in nature and too intractable to be managed or solved by working within traditional disciplinary boundaries. This talk will outline where we are currently, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

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