$134m UQ facility a leader for Australian oral health
The University of Queensland has unveiled the nation’s largest and most advanced tertiary dental facility, a $134-million Oral Health Centre at Herston in Brisbane’s inner north.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj and Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Executive Dean Professor Bruce Abernethy were joined at the opening by Federal Minister for Health Sussan Ley.
Ms Ley said the $104-million Australian Government contribution to the Oral Health Centre provided Queenslanders with improved access to a range of high quality oral health services and facilities.
“This ensures the community receives the most appropriate care earlier and builds on the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to improving the delivery of health services,” Ms Ley said.
“This centre is particularly impressive through the bringing together of academic and researchers, leading practitioners and students.
“It will support the current and future dental profession.”
Also in attendance at the opening were Federal Member for Brisbane Teresa Gambaro, Federal Member for Ryan Jane Prentice, Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick, and State Member for Brisbane Central Grace Grace.
State government contributed $3 million towards the Oral Health Centre, on which design began in 2009.
Professor Høj said the impressive facility offered a broad range of dental services to the public and provided industry-leading education for high-achieving UQ Dentistry students.
“This is a home befitting the future professionals of Queensland oral health, channelling their outstanding academic achievements into top-class services for the community,” Professor Høj said.
“The UQ Oral Health Centre has been a significant project over several years and is a fine facility of which we can be proud.
“UQ has been at the forefront of Australian dentistry for the best part of a century, and this ensures we continue to set the standard for coming generations.”
Located next to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, the centre will focus on general dentistry, as well as specialist services including orthodontics and periodontics.
Aside from having roughly double the number of patient chairs as the UQ School of Dentistry’s former home at Turbot Street in Brisbane’s CBD, each chair comes with its own x-ray machine.
All general dentistry clinics boast two demonstration chairs with facilities to record and stream procedures, while the radiography clinic houses four of the latest diagnostic machines.
The upper levels feature a certified Physical Containment (PC2) research laboratory, two operating theatres and a specialist 15-chair suite with state-of-the-art microscopic equipment and intra-oral cameras.
A total of 161 seats are provided for students to be educated in multi-functional dental simulation laboratories utilising identical equipment to that used in general dental practice.
Professor Abernethy said the centre remained central and was a one-zone public transport journey from the CBD via the Inner Northern Busway.
“It boasts excellent proximity to the Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine, the QIMR-Berghofer Medical Research Institute, existing public health infrastructure and other UQ health activities, including nursing and medicine,” Professor Abernethy said.
“Students have access to 173 top-of-the-range dental chairs across 11 clinics, as well as a state-of-the-art imaging centre, a learning centre, book store and café.
“This facility will ultimately help improve the quality of dental service provision for Australians – and for Queenslanders in particular.”
UQ has recruited dental scientist Professor Lakshman ‘Sam’ Samaranayake to steer the UQ School of Dentistry through its exciting next phase.
Professor Samaranayake was previously Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong for a decade, and has authored more than 400 publications and been a consultant for the World Bank.
The centre was designed by Cox Rayner Architects, who designed the new ferry terminal and pedestrian link at UQ’s St Lucia campus and other Brisbane projects, including the Kurilpa Bridge, the James Street Market and One One One Eagle Street.
The centre connects the Royal Brisbane Hospital to the adjacent heritage-listed 1930s Mayne Medical School.
The Oral Health Centre’s environmental features include a natural ventilation system for all major social spaces within the building.
UQ’s previous dental education facility at Turbot Street treated patients from throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Bachelor of Dental Science (Honours) at the University of Queensland