Associate Professor Janet Wallace is a registered Oral Health Therapist with qualifications in dental therapy, dental hygiene, business management, tertiary teaching and a PhD in Oral Health. Janet has extensive clinical and oral health management experience in private and public dental practice and spent many years working for Northern Sydney, Central Coast, Area Health Service in various roles including; Manager Child Dental Services, Community Dental Health Programs Officer, Health Promotions Manager and Acting Director Community Dental Services.
In 2008, Janet joined the University of Newcastle as a Conjoint Lecturer in Oral Health to develop and implement the 'Aged care oral health student placement program in residential aged care facilities'. This was a new Australian initiative and the focus of her PhD.
In 2009, Janet was appointed to Lecturer in Oral Health and joined A/Professor Fiona Blinkhorn in writing the curriculum for the Graduate Diploma in Dental Therapy program. In 2014, she was appointed as Program Convenor for the Graduate Diploma in Dental Therapy program seeing the final year of offering of this program.
Janet was instrumental in identifying the need to redevelop the oral health program to include dental therapy and during 2014, Janet worked with Associate Professor Jane Taylor to write the curriculum for the new Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy program. This new program combined dental hygiene and dental therapy to offer a more relevant practitioner known as an 'Oral Health Therapist' with an adult scope of practice. In September 2015, Janet was appointed as the Program Convenor for the new Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy program. In February 2018, Janet was appointed as the Acting Head of Discipline for Oral Health.
In 2014, Janet translated her PhD research into practice by developing the ‘Senior Smiles preventive oral health care program for older people living in residential aged care facilities’. This pilot study was financed with a $100,000 grant from NSW, Medicare Local, Erina and placed a registered dental hygienist in five residential aged care facilities on the NSW, Central Coast. The dental hygienist provided oral health risk assessments, oral health care plans, oral health education and developed referral pathways for residents who required more complex dental care. This research has introduced a new model of oral hygiene care to residential aged care facilities and is changing the paradigm of oral health care in this environment.
Janet is a committed advocate for preventive oral health care for the elderly, is a keen Twitter user, is regularly quoted in media and has featured in several industry publications including the September 2015 issue of the Bite Magazine. She regularly provides guidance for dentists, oral health therapists and dental hygienists who wish to implement “Senior Smiles’ in their local communities and is focused on ensuring that ultimately ‘Senior Smiles’ is delivered in all Residential Aged Care Facilities Australia wide.
In 2016, Janet received a philanthropic grant of $540,000 from the ‘Elderslee Foundation Australia Ltd’ to extend her ‘Senior Smiles’ research. This significant grant supports an administrator to manage the program and placed qualified oral health therapists/dental hygienists in five major facilities on the NSW, Central Coast. This takes the ‘Senior Smiles’ model to the next level providing oral health care for a period of three years. This model proposes that at the completion of the three years, the participating facilities, will fund the program into the future and expand the service to all sister sites. Janet is committed to ensuring that ultimately, this model, becomes part of core business, in all Aged Care Facilities, Australia wide.
Janet is published in national and international journals, has presented her research at national and international conferences and has received a 'Faculty Research Staff Excellence' award, a 'Work Integrated Learning' award and a 'Research Higher Degree' award. Janet was a finalist in the 2017 Alumni Awards for exceptional community service, received a BRAWN Fellowship in 2017 and in 2017 was the only Oral Health Therapist to be awarded a Fellowship in the Academy of Dentistry International. She is a life member of the Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association, an Honorary member of the Dental Hygienists Association Australia, a peer reviewer for the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Dental and Oral Health Therapy and an appointed Board Member of the NSW, Dental Council, currently serving her third term of office.
Janet is enthusiastic about providing oral health students with new learning experiences and in 2016 she implemented international student placements in Cambodia. In addition to the international placements, Janet has partnered with Ungooroo, Aboriginal Corporation Singleton to establish the UON Oral Health student placement program at Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation, Singleton.