Dental Public Health

Dental Public Health is the branch and specialty of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, and control of dental diseases and the promotion of oral health through organized community efforts. Dental Public Health serves the community and the public through research, health promotion, education, and oral healthcare programs.

Fellows in Dental Public Health are required to have broad knowledge, skills, practice and excellence in the nine domains of Dental Public Health. The domains are:

  1. Oral health and public health sciences.
  2. Assessment and analysis of oral health and its determinants.
  3. Oral health policy development and implementation.
  4. Oral health program planning and management.
  5. Performance measurement and evaluation.
  6. Partnerships and collaboration.
  7. Equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
  8. Communication and knowledge translation.
  9. Leadership and advocacy.

The RCDC Fellowship Examination in Dental Public Health recognizes excellence, experience and competence in the practice of Dental Public Health and is the highest professional achievement for a public health dentist in Canada. Fellows are currently working throughout Canada and internationally in health agencies, dental faculties, governments, and administrative and clinical practices.

The examination will assess a candidate’s knowledge of Dental Public Health principles and public health issues in Canada. Candidates are required to demonstrate competency in project reports, data analysis and interpretation, policy analysis and presentation of a response to an assigned Dental Public Health problem and oral examination on a broad range of current Dental Public Health topics.

Canadian Association of Public Health Dentistry

Examination Information

Part 1: Project/Paper
1a: Submission of the Project/Paper
1b: Oral Defense of the Project/Paper

45 minutes
Part 2: Overnight Assignment
Part 2a: Briefing Note
Part 2b: Oral Defense of Overnight Assignment

45 minutes
Part 3: Viva Voce General Competencies45 minutes

Part 1a (Submission of the Project/Paper)

The candidates are requested to submit a project/paper on a Dental Public Health topic 3 weeks prior to the examination date. This project/paper can be on a practice topic from a candidate’s dental public health practice or academic experience. It should clearly demonstrate the role and effort made by the candidate in completion of the project/paper. This project/paper cannot be used for any other degree or examination prior to or after the Fellowship Examination*. The project/paper will demonstrate a candidate’s ability to conduct research into community oral health problems and services, and will be used to assess competencies of the ability to assess community oral health status, needs and resources, diagnose community oral health problems, and identify the cause or strength of contributing factors. Credentialed candidates will be provided with detailed guidelines on structure, lengths and format, submission process and verification of the candidate’s role in completion of the project/paper.

*Note: Requirements of any other degree or examination could include but not be limited to the following: thesis/theses for a Masters or PhD degree, research projects, course requirements, practicum placements, internships, residencies, or capstone projects. 

Part 1b (Oral Defense of the Project/Paper)

A candidate will be given time to verbally present the project/paper followed by questions from Examiners. Each defense will be independently scored by Examiners. Equal weighting is given to Part 1a (submission of the project/paper) and Part 1b (oral defense of the project/paper).

Part 2 (Overnight Assignment)

The candidates will be provided with a written problem statement and will have until the next day to prepare a response to the information provided, and articulate the steps they would take to address the problem by submitting a brief note and presenting an oral defense of the proposed solution(s). This may include interpretation of data, policy analysis of the problem, possible options, and recommendations. The response will demonstrate a candidate’s ability to assess policies, strategies, programs, services, and devices that affect oral health and the provision of oral health services. It will also be used to assess competencies of policy analysis, communicating recommendations and planning activities or programs that would be worthwhile in improving oral health within the given ethical, legal, political, social, demographic, economic, and environmental context.

Part 2a (Briefing Note based on Overnight Assignment)

Candidates will be asked to submit a two-page briefing note with their recommended solution. Limited number of appendices will be permitted in the format provided with the overnight assignment.

Part 2b (Oral Defense of Overnight Assignment)

Candidates will be given time to present their solution(s) followed by questions from Examiners.

For the presentation and defense of both the project/paper and the overnight assignment, candidates may bring written notes or presentation aids. The candidates will be asked to submit a copy of their presentation aids and briefing note immediately following the presentation. These components of the examination are designed to evaluate a candidate’s ability to understand a problem in relation to the information provided, formulate, and communicate a reasonable solution to facilitate decision-making. Candidates are asked to present appropriate solutions,  alternatives based on the available information and their recommended solution.

Examiners will use the following criteria in marking the project/paper, briefing note, and the overnight assignment:

  • Candidate’s ability to understand the assigned problem(s) in view of the information provided.
  • Candidate’s ability to identify any other significant problems embedded in the assignment.
  • The relevance of the criteria the candidate used to identify solutions to assigned problem(s).
  • The appropriateness of the options that were considered as choices for solving the various problems.
  • The rationale for selecting the choice of approach.
  • Candidate’s ability to justify the resources required (budget and personnel).
  • The candidate’s presentation and communication skills.

Part 3 (Viva Voce)

The third part of examination is an oral examination that evaluates general competencies in Dental Public Health. The questions relate specifically to current Canadian Dental Public Health issues and are drawn from the ten topics listed below. The questions are broad and require a discussion of responses; they are designed to elicit comprehensive, in-depth answers that demonstrate a candidate’s understanding of the subject rather than specific facts or definitions.

The overarching criteria that examiners will use for evaluating all oral presentations are:  

  • Was the presentation style clear and effective?
  • Were the candidate’s responses organized, concise, thoughtful, and coherent?
  • If the candidate didn’t know an answer, did he/she admit not knowing rather than responding with Irrelevancies?

Topics to Review

  • Critical Appraisal and Evidence-based Practice
  • Oral Epidemiology Measurement and Methods
  • Oral Disease in the Community
  • Community Oral Health Interventions
  • Health Status Monitoring
  • Dental Public Health Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • Oral Health Promotion
  • Health Program Management and Financing of Dental Programs/Care
  • Ethics and Jurisprudence
  • Current Issues in Dental Public Health

Please note that all topics may not necessarily appear in every examination. 

Candidate Study Guide

The intent of this guide is to provide the candidate with an understanding of the format in which various parts of the fellowship examination. The content of the guide is for illustrative purposes only and should not be construed as an example of the level of difficulty of the examination content.

Study Guide

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