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Keywords:

  • dental;
  • financial sustainability;
  • placement;
  • rural;
  • student

Abstract

Introduction

Student clinical placements away from the university dental school clinics are an integral component of dental training programs. In 2009, the School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, commenced a clinical placement in a remote rural community in Australia. This paper presents a simple cost analysis of the project from mid-2008 to mid-2011.

Methods

All expenditures of the project are audited by the Financial and Planning Services unit of the university. The budget was divided into capital and operational costs, and the latter were further subdivided into salary and non-salary costs, and these were further analysed for the various types of expenditures incurred. The value of the treatments provided and income generated is also presented.

Results

Remote rural placements have additional (to the usual university dental clinic) costs in terms of salary incentives, travel, accommodation and subsistence support. However, the benefits of the placement to both the students and the local community might outweigh the additional costs of the placement.

Conclusions and implications

Because of high costs of rural student clinical placements, the financial support of partners, including the local Shire Council, state/territory and Commonwealth governments, is crucial in the establishment and ongoing sustainability of rural dental student clinical placements.