The potential for student-driven partnerships and health promotion co-production to enhance community oral health literacy – ADOHTA 2021

The potential for student-driven partnerships and health promotion co-production to enhance community oral health literacy

Mr Clinton Kempster1, Dr Jennifer  Gray, Ms Kyla Burman

1The University Of Adelaide, Australia

Background: The design and delivery of health promotion curriculum in the BOH course at The University of Adelaide is such that it encourages students to focus on health literacy, equity and partnerships in the development of several small targeted health promotion programs. Students co-produce, implement and evaluate these programs, engaging community groups, supportive partners and industry stakeholders in a range of unique ways, outside of traditional settings. The aim is to increase the capacity of marginalised groups to access, understand, appraise and apply information to make effective decisions about health and health care.

Methodology: A ‘co-production’ pedagogical approach (Ostrom, 1996; Pestoff et al, 2013) is used in the delivery of curriculum seeing groups of ‘individuals whom are not from the same organisation’ produce a range of activities, tools and networking opportunities targeted toward marginalised community  groups. Students then transition from being guided to being creatively autonomous in the pursuit of further key partnerships with those providing capacity building programs around South Australia.

Results: Sustainable relationships have been established and are growing with partner organisations. As these relationship’s strengthen, so too does the trust, creative licence, innovation and promotion of the students involvement directly or indirectly with community. That leads to more frequent touch-points with community and much greater buy-in. As familiarity increases, so too does community health literacy and confidence to enter oral health care pathways.

Conclusion: Strategically planned activity outside of dental care infrastructure has the potential to draw community members and dental service providers together, with the enhancement of health literacy and access among at-risk populations an important by-product. There seems great potential for further benefits to be realised by health students and members of the public when there is multi-stakeholder involvement in co-produced health promotion initiatives, implemented in non-traditional environments.



Clinton is a proud husband and father of three. His involvement in public dentistry and dental academia now spans over two decades. His own journey of self-discovery and an understanding of the impact of privilege, has led him to become a career advocate; supporting those whom need benevolence. He is passionate about equity, fair treatment, inclusion and leveraging diversity. He is an ally to those whom have battled for recognition or whom have suffered in the lottery of life. He fervently promotes emotional intelligence, togetherness, the creation of sustainable partnerships, the development of healthier environments and an all-welcoming cultural standard.