Lifespan oral health campaign

Professor Chris Peck, Dean of Dentistry with Dr Alex Abrahams, alumnus and philanthropist
Gift empowers research linking oral health and chronic diseases

A $3.6 million donation to the University of Sydney was the stimulus for a bold plan to establish a $20 million world-class research centre spearheading research, policy, advocacy and education initiatives to prevent and reduce chronic diseases caused by poor oral health.

The gift, by the Abrahams family through their Rosebrook Foundation, funded the establishment of the new Chair of Lifespan Oral Health, Professor Joerg Eberhard, appointed in April 2016 at the University of Sydney’s Sydney Dental School and Charles Perkins Centre. Dr Alex Abrahams, an alumnus of the University’s Sydney Dental School, graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1982 and has been a practising dentist for more than 30 years.

Based at Westmead Centre for Oral Health, Professor Eberhard will investigate all aspects of preventable dental disease and its links to whole-of-body health.

Professor Eberhard and his team's research will be incorporated into the University’s Dentistry curricula, as well as new clinical treatment guidelines for future dental professionals, and in continuing professional development programs for current practitioners.

“Our current understanding reveals profound associations between oral health and a range of chronic diseases,” says Professor Chris Peck, Dean, Sydney Dental School.

“Our research is revealing how the mouth and teeth can be markers for systemic illness, and how chronic infections, inflammation and degeneration in the mouth help explain disease processes throughout the body.

“The Chair of Lifespan Oral Health will advance our understanding of the specific causal connections between oral health and diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia and adverse pregnancy outcomes.”

The University also released a prospectus describing plans to translate the research findings of the Chair of Lifespan Oral Health into real-world impacts by raising $20 million to establish a world-class research centre.

“The centre will build on the work of the new Chair and develop a whole-of-health disease prevention strategy that defines benefits to individuals, the community and government through improved health, reduced costs and evidence-based health policy development,” Chris Peck says.

Academic Director of the University’s Charles Perkins Centre, Professor Stephen Simpson said: “The new Chair will be responsible for developing strategies to improve the health of current and future generations of Australians. This task goes beyond traditional dentistry and medicine and extends to education, nutrition, agriculture, economics, the built environment and communication technologies.”

Find out how you can support the Sydney Dental School and Charles Perkins Centre in transforming the lives of Australians. With every gift to the University of Sydney, donors become part of the INSPIRED campaign, which aims to raise $600 million by 2017.