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Professor Liz Kay takes office as BDA’s 135th President

Professor Liz Kay, a leading dental academic and dental public health specialist, has taken up office as the 135th president of the British Dental Association.

Taking over the role from past-President Russ Ladwa, Professor Kay has vowed to keep up the work done over the past few years to pursue fairness in the profession, and to continue to tackle the problem of oral health inequality.

Professor Kay qualified in 1982 from the University of Edinburgh. She went on to acquire a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Glasgow and remained there as a lecturer while studying for a PhD and working in the dental hospital and gaining her Fellowship in Dental Surgery.

She then became senior lecturer at the University of Dundee, before joining the University of Manchester where she became Professor of dental health services research and head of the orthodontic and children’s department. She also undertook specialist training in dental public health and for the last 25 years has been a consultant in the speciality.

Her dental academic career culminated in her being appointed as the inaugural dean of Peninsula Dental School in the South West where she introduced a new model of primary care based education for dental students.

Professor Kay serves as vice chair of the Medical and Dental Students Trust, served as oral health topic expert for NICE, and currently chairs a NICE guideline committee on epilepsies in children. She is also a non-executive director of an NHS Hospital Trust. She held the post as an equality advisor to the Medical and Dental School Councils and is also trustee, and immediate past President of the Oral Health Foundation.

Her scholarly work includes over 250 scientific papers and journal articles, being principal author or editor of six textbooks, along with contributing several chapters to academic books. Her research interests lie in decision analysis, health service research and behavioural science.

Professor Kay was previously chair of the BDA’s Health and Science Committee and the BDA’s scientific advisor. More recently she has been appointed as editor of the BDJ’s Evidence Based Dentistry where her mission is to bring the research community and general dental practice closer together and which now takes original publications as well as commentaries on scientific articles.

Professor Kay said:

“I am honoured to take up this role, notwithstanding that this is one of the most challenging times in our history. Covid has had a devastating impact not just on dentists’ livelihoods and wellbeing but also on our patients and has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and access difficulties.

“However, I hope that the long anticipated roadmap out of Covid will focus minds on tackling these difficult issues and will result in a fairer system for patients and a more welcoming environment for dentists and their teams.

“The BDA has been working hard to raise awareness of all these issues, which are dear to my heart; I look forward to being part of this and meeting dentists around the country in the year ahead.”

Professor Kay was officially installed at the BDA’s AGM on 7 September 2021 – you can view the proceedings online.

She will hold the post for two years, instead of the usual one, due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Liz Kay