National Teaching Fellow 2012
When Sara Holmes joined the University as a Lecturer in 1998, she had the sense, having originally trained as a dental nurse, that dental care professional (DCP) education was historically a ‘Cinderella’ professional specialism in academic dentistry.
At that time the University did not have a history in dental education but were keen to develop provision. Sara has since progressively developed a strong vision for team-based dental learning and working.
Historically, dentists and DCPs have been trained in relative isolation, at best sharing occassional seminars and perhaps the odd clinical session. However, Sara passionately believes that they must have the opportunity of training together in the reality of the dental setting if they are going to be effective members of healthcare teams of the future. She strongly believes that students’ experiences as undergraduates influence their later career, working practices and their attitudes to other members of the dental team.
Sara led the development of the University’s Dental Academy, which opened in September 2010, and its predecessor, the School for Dental Care Professionals. The Dental Academy, in partnership with King’s College London Dental Institute, provides an innovative model of team-based undergraduate training for DCP and dentist students in the reality of the primary care environment (i.e. high street practice). She believes that dental graduates of the future must have a sound knowledge and practical understanding of team-based working and that it is the responsibility of dental educators like her to meet this challenge.
Sara was awarded the MBE for services to dental education in 2006.
As one student commented: “Sara Holmes is a legend! I have never met anyone more passionate about what they do. She is an amazing role model for dental care professionals the world over.”
Director of the Dental Academy
University of Portsmouth