Julie Satur promoted to Professor in the Melbourne Dental School

Professor Julie Satur has been employed by the University of Melbourne since 1996 and was instrumental in leading the transition of dental therapy and hygiene education from the certificate courses of the 1970s, to the Bachelor program it is today.

Julie is a pioneer within Oral Health Therapy, being the first in the Australasian/Asian- Pacific region to have been awarded a PhD, the first Dental Therapist appointed as an academic staff member to any university Dental School in Australia, the first to be promoted to Professor on merit, and the only female Professor of Oral Health Therapy in our country. Through her career, Julie has led the development of the profession into a research enabled discipline through development of undergraduate and graduate curriculum, coursework and teaching, research and academic publication, journal editing, and conference development.

Professor Satur’s recognition that traditional models of oral care were not delivering access to dental care has informed her research and directed her work towards policy implementation and change. She was a founding member of both the Victorian and Australian Dental Therapist Associations, and has held many executive and leadership positions including development of the first peer reviewed international journal for the profession. She has been identified as a leader and mentor for several generations of Oral Health Therapy practitioners in Australia. She has driven student engagement with the community through many oral health promotion programs in underserved populations over many years, for refugees, people with disabilities, homeless, early childhood, rural communities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. This work has raised the profile of oral health therapy and contributed to improving oral health for people with severe mental illness, seen graduates employed in many settings providing care for people with complex needs and helped to increase access to dental care in underserved communities.

Recently, she has established the extension of Oral Health Therapy students educational experience in remote communities through the development of a partnership with the Miwatj Health Service in East Arnhem Land. This has been outstanding as an example of sensitive community engagement linked to positive outcomes for both the oral health of the Miwatj Community and the development of cross cultural learning for our graduates.

Julie was the first dental therapist in Australasia to serve on a regulatory body and led the development of new practice regulation subsequently translated into national regulation. Julie has made an outstanding contribution to health policy development in our country including National Oral Health Plans, the Graduate Year Program, competency and accreditation frameworks and establishing the College of Oral Health Academics.

Recently, Julie has been instrumental in the development and successful implementation of the Melbourne Dental School Mentoring Program for final year DDS and BOH students. Her dedication and enthusiasm has seen the program return and even expand for the second year of the program in 2018.

Professor Michael McCullough (BDSc (Melb) 1982, PhD (Melb) 1995, MDSc 1997)
Professor of Oral Medicine
Melbourne Dental School

“I have been part of world first research looking at OHT practice and evidence for effective oral health promotion. My work has taken me from Canberra to help develop national policy, to London to learn about leadership, Washington DC to speak on oral health therapy, Indonesia and Fiji to consider educational models, East Arnhem Land to work with Indigenous communities, and Melbourne to work with some wonderful and inspiring people who use the power of the University of Melbourne to help vulnerable and socially disadvantaged communities. I feel very lucky – it has been an incredible privilege”.

Professor Julie Satur
Head, Oral Health
Melbourne Dental School