Professor Julie Satur appears on the December 2022 cover of Bite

Bite introduces the new dental curriculum Julie created, which focuses on the needs of Indigenous Australians:


Each year as part of the Bachelor of Oral Health studies at the University of Melbourne, Professor Julie Satur would take a group of students to the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service to meet the medical team and learn about the clinic's range of activities.

After one visit, a fellow academic pulled Professor Satur aside and questioned the appropriateness of the visit. "This person said to me, 'Those students, as the only non-Aboriginal people there, were so uncomfortable sitting in that waiting room'," Professor Satur recalls.

"And I responded, 'I'm pleased then, because that's exactly how Aboriginal people usually feel sitting in a dental clinic waiting room.' I believe there's strength in doing such things; to live in that space for a while when you are not the majority and understand what it feels like."

It is such learning strategies Professor Satur, the university dental school's director of Engagement and Indigenous Programs, has been employing over the past 25 years. Having graduated as a dental therapist in Melbourne in 1977, Professor Satur spent 18 years working for the Victorian School Dental Service as a clinical dental therapist and in the dental health education unit, followed by post graduate studies in public health. Since 1996, she has been involved in tertiary education at the Melbourne Dental School, with a special interest in Indigenous Australians.

"I have always worked in the space of inequalities and how we can improve oral health care for the 45 per cent of our population that doesn't have good access, and that includes new migrant and low-income communities, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas."

Professor Satur is not Aboriginal but describes herself as "a long-term ally", and has worked with communities in Arnhem Land and along the Murray River. At the Melbourne Dental School, she has worked to embed Aboriginal health issues in the Bachelor of Oral Health and Dentistry programs, including clinical placement of students in Northern Territory communities......

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