Prof Jonathan Shepherd to speak on alcohol policy

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A world-renowned expert on the prevention and treatment of alcohol-related injuries will deliver the School of Dental Sciences' annual 'Founders and Benefactors Lecture' on 16 June.

Professor Jonathan Shepherd is a leading Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon based at Cardiff University. His lecture, entitled 'Preventing Alcohol Related Violence: Effective Alternatives to “a Tooth for a Tooth”?’, will provide an insight into the work of his Violence and Society Research Group which won a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2009 for its research on violence, alcohol and late-night safety.

The Founders and Benefactors Lecture is an annual event at Newcastle University's School of Dental Sciences which examines topical issues that are based in dentistry but appeal to the public as a whole. Professor Jimmy Steele (PhD 1994), Head of School, said: 'It has always been a public lecture, and we are keen to make sure it is of just as much interest to a patient, an alumnus or member of the public as it is to a dental graduate.

'Last year we covered the subject of who should get orthodontic treatment from the leader in the field, and debated whether it is worth the hundreds of millions of pounds per year which are spent on it. The answer was not quite what you might have expected,' said Professor Steele. 'This year we are approaching the highly topical subject of alcohol policy with a dentist and maxillofacial surgeon who is a leader in the field of alcohol and violence. He led research which derived from his clinical experience and led to policy changes to minimise risk and cost.'

Dr John Whitworth, a clinical consultant at the School and its head of engagement, added: 'One of our key roles in Dental Sciences is to serve and provide resource for civic society. We do that on a daily basis in the clinical treatment and advice services we offer to the public, and through other engagement activities such as our ‘Brush up’ community engagement group, bringing diet, healthy lifestyle, oral health and careers advice to young people and nursing and expectant mums.

'The Founders and Benefactors event adds another opportunity for us to open our doors to the general public, in addition to school students, dental and other healthcare professionals. We hope to address topics of real interest and relevance in the public sphere, pitched at an appropriate level for all listeners, and in the company of true authorities.'

Following the lecture, the School of Dental Sciences will open its doors to graduates and guests for a tour of its facilities. 'This will provide a linked opportunity for anyone interested to look around our facilities, to understand a little of the teaching, research, service and engagement activities of the Hospital and School and to have the opportunity to ask questions of relevance to oral health and career opportunities in oral healthcare,' said Dr Whitworth.

Professor Shepherd's research has made many contributions to clinical and public policy and legislation, including the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, and the 2008 UK violence reduction strategy. His work on glass injury resulted in a switch from annealed to tempered glassware in the UK licensed trade in the late 1990s.

You can read an interview with Professor Shepherd on health news website, The Globe. And you can book your place for the lecture and open afternoon using the Convocation Weekend 2012 booking form.

published on: 7th March 2012

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