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Community & Business

30 September, 2021

Dentist dreams one step closer

MUTCHILBA local Dave Bailey has been given an important boost in his journey to become a dentist after being just one of five lucky recipients of a study grant from the Australian Dental Association.

By Rhys Thomas

Dave Bailey at the JCU Dentistry Simulation Clinic. PHOTO CREDIT: JCU College of Medicine and Dentistry.

PHARMACY was first on the table for Dave as he studied a Bachelor of Pharmacy at JCU in 2013, going on to work in Palm Island and at Townsville University Hospital, gaining a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy. 

It was during these placements that Dave witnessed the mobile dental clinics visiting rural areas, he saw firsthand the need of dental care in regional Australia.

Dave then decided he wanted to have a more hands on approach and directly help people in need, dentistry seemed like a good place to start.

Now with this grant funding Dave can better focus on his studies, making an incredible impact as the birth of his first child and the three-hour commute to Cairns was tricky to juggle. 

“It’s taken the financial pressure off us, travelling, study and raising a newborn, it’s pretty full-on so the resources from this grant are really helpful,” he said. 

“It was an awesome feeling and I feel super proud to have been selected. 

"It means a lot, both in terms of the financial support, and the recognition of some of the challenges you might face in a rural or remote place.”

Dave getting out on the family farm in Mutchilba on his quad bike.

Dave was amongst just five likeminded individuals across Australia to receive this funding benefit based on his location, community involvement, and commitment to working in a rural or remote area after graduating. 

“I love that in dentistry you can take care of a whole health issue,” Dave said. 

“If someone has a sore tooth, you can stop the problem for them. 

“It’s holistic, and it can be preventative, and I will get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help people in this way.” 

After graduating Dave is hoping to work in a rural hospital or mobile dental clinic, much like the ones he saw during his pharmacy placements. 

“When I graduate I want to work in a rural hospital or mobile dental clinic,” he said. 

“Though these facilities are generally smaller and have fewer resources, they play a vital role in the provision of community- wide integrated health services.” 

Dave isn’t the only smart cookie in his family as his wife Julia is also a JCU graduate and is currently doing her PhD at JCU, he says she has been a constant support and encouragement for him, as well as a terrific mum to their young son.

“Julia loves that we can bring our son up here in the bush,” Dave said. 

“It is challenging raising a young family, studying and living in a remote location. 

“The community support and the friendships that you make will draw you back there, there's nothing else like it.” 

Dave is currently just two years into his five year dental course with JCU with his studies set to be completed in 2024

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