Dr Alexander Holden

BDS MDPH LLM MJDF FACLM FICD FPFA
Senior Lecturer and Head of Subject Area - Professional Practice

Telephone 0478019695

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Biographical details

Alexander Holden is a dentally-qualified ethicist. He is currently Senior Lecturer and Head of Subject Area for Professional Practice which is concerned with ethics, law, professionalism, sociology and communications within the context of dentistry. Alexander is a member of the Discipline of Population Oral Health. Alexander's research has several approaches, from qualitative sociological work, to critically examining ethical issues and legal analysis. He currently teaches across all years of the Doctor of Dental Medicine and Bachelor of Oral Health courses, as well as serving as the overall coordinator for the three population oral health-focused Units of Study the School of Dentistry offers in conjunction with the School of Public Health for the Master of Public Health/ Master of Global Health program.

Alexander serves on one of The University of Sydney’s Human Research Ethics Committees and is an Honorary Associate within the Centre of Sydney Health Ethics. He is also an active collaborator with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health within The University of Sydney. Alexander is a member of the NSW Registrations Committee of the Dental Board of Australia. He also has a close working relationship with the Australian Dental Association NSW Branch, being a member of the Advocacy and Professional Support Committees. Alexander was elected as a Federal Councillor of the Australian Dental Association in October 2018.

Alexander works clinically within several different practice environments within public and private dental healthcare provision.

Research interests

Oral Health Sociology

Alexander is interested in the interaction of the dental profession with the rest of society from a professional and sociological perspective. As part of an International collaboration, he is examining the sociological relevance of portrayals of oral health with reality television. Oral health is closely related to how individuals are perceived in society and the social class that they occupy. Part of Alexander’s interest in this area is to develop the understanding of how dirt, disgust and oral health mesh together as a sociological phenomenon so as to increase understanding of how this impacts inequity.

Dental Professionalism

The dental profession is only recently established; in many parts of the world formal organisation and regulation of dentistry has only existed for around 100 years. Within this area, Alexander is interested in how the dental profession interacts internally, through power relations between different dental practitioner divisions, and also in its external relations with society. As part of this research interest, Alexander has examined codes of conduct in developing understanding of professional attitudes and behaviours. Within this, he has a particular interest in how the dental profession manages internal concerns relating to standards of conduct, health and performance.

A separate, but linked interest of Alexander’s, is digital professionalism in dentistry and how dental professionals utilise social media in their private and public lives. Increasingly, social media is blurring the boundaries between the professional and private conducts of those involved in the delivery of dentistry. How this is being managed from a regulatory perspective is of interest to Alexander.

Cosmetic Dentistry: Professional, Ethical and Legal Issues

One of Alexander’s main research interests is in examining the nature of cosmetic practice in dentistry and its relationship to professional practice. Most of the literature base on cosmetic dentistry makes its philosophical assumptions from cosmetic medicine and surgery. Alexander’s work in this area examines cosmetic dentistry from a socioethical perspective, developing understanding from a dental, rather than medical direction. Part of this work has looked at differing legal approaches to teeth whitening. Alongside examination of cosmetic dentistry, Alexander has been researching the interaction between commercialism and dentistry.

Teaching and supervision

Alexander is currently acting in the capacity of an auxiliary supervisor within HDR studies. He is also a supervisor for several students completing projects for the award of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)

Since joining the Faculty in early 2016, Alexander has developed a curriculum within the Faculty courses that examines the ethical and professional issues faced by dental practitioners, within the legal and sociological contexts of dental practice. Whilst course content primarily focuses upon Australasian issues, there is heavy reference to the Canadian, UK and other jurisdictions.

Alexander is also responsible for teaching dental public health on the DMD course and is the overall coordinator for the three dental public health units of study offered by the dental school as electives as part of the MPH/MGH programs.

Current projects

Alexander in currently engaged in research within a variety of areas including:

  • Semiotic analysis of media portraying cosmetic dentistry
  • Advertising within healthcare
  • The ethical, legal and professional issues surrounding cosmetic procedures in dentistry
  • Social media use by dental professionals and the ethical and professional challenges raised
  • The development of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and the future of the dental profession
  • Oral health promotion and Indigenous communities

Alexander is in collaboration with other Institutions, both within Australia and Internationally; he is always willing to discuss his current projects and would be delighted to hear from any potential, future research partners.

He is currently completing research towards the award of a PhD, supervised by Professor Heiko Spallek in the Faculty of Dentistry.

Associations

Member of the Australian Dental Association

Member of the Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law

Member of the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry

Member of the Joint Dental Faculties of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

Fellow of the Australasian College of Legal Medicine

Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine

Awards and honours

Runner-up Dental Writer of the Year 2012

Best Young Dentist 2013 (FMC Dentistry Awards) – Midlands Region Winner

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Encouragement Award - Pierre Fauchard Academy / Australian Dental Association Emerging Lecturer Competition 2017

Fellowship of the International College of Dentists

In the media

Dental Industry Media

Popular Media

Radio Appearances

  • 6PR Morning Program with Gareth Parker discussing teeth whitening (6th September 2018)
  • 2SER Community Radio Station by Tess Connery discussing teeth whitening (10th September 2018)
  • FIVEaa afternoon show by Alan Hickey discussing teeth whitening (10th September 2018)
  • ABC Canberra with Jo Laverty discussing dentistry and oral health (at 1.37) (13th September 2018)
  • Interviewed about dental ethics (at 1.01) byJames Valentine on ABC Sydney (6th September 2018)
  • Interviewed on 2SER on dental tourism (7th November 2018).

International links

Canada

(University of Toronto) Collaborating on examination of dental ethics and public health ethics in relation to oral health.

United Kingdom

(The University of Sheffield) Collaborating on investigating the sociological elements of oral health and the dental profession.

United Kingdom

(University of Bristol) Collaborating on dental professionalism and the sociology of oral health.

Selected grants

2019

  • Consumer involvement in the design and delivery of professional competency examinations and assessments; Holden A; Australian Dental Council (ADC)/Research Grant.
  • How do the Consumers of Healthcare Evaluate Advertisements and Testimonials Relating to Services?; Holden A; Australian Skeptics Inc/The Australian Skeptics Grant Program.

2017

  • Enhancing ethical practice during professional placements; Kenny B, McAllister L, Nicole M, Pollard N, Semaan A, Thomson K, Di Michele L, Holden A; DVC Education/Large Educational Innovation Grant.

2016

  • Design and implementation of a curricular framework and assessment to promote the enhancement of the Ethical, Social and Professional Understanding of the Sydney graduate. A pilot for a university-wide approach in the Dental Faculty; Holden A, Spallek H, Dawson A, Mathieu Coulton K, Eberhard J, Koulias M, Hendry G; DVC Education/Large Educational Innovation Grant.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Holden, A., Gibson, B., Spallek, H. (2019). Embarrassing Realities: the Portrayal of Dentistry in Reality TV 'Dentertainment'. Community Dental Health, 36(1), 46-54. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). 'Blowing the whistle': The ethical, professional and legal implications of raising concerns and self-regulation within dentistry. Australian Dental Journal, 63(2), 150-155. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). A Whiter Shade of Grey: Comparisons of the Legal and Professional Status of Tooth Whitening in Three Jurisdictions. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(4), 1134-1145.
  • Dimitropoulos, Y., Holden, A., Gwynne, K., Irving, M., Binge, N., Blinkhorn, A. (2018). An assessment of strategies to control dental caries in Aboriginal children living in rural and remote communities in New South Wales, Australia. BMC Oral Health, 18(1), 177. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). Consumer-driven and commercialised practice in dentistry: an ethical and professional problem? Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 21(4), 583-589. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). Cosmetic dentistry: A socioethical evaluation. Bioethics, 32(9), 602-610. [More Information]
  • Jean, G., Holden, A., Tennant, M. (2018). Dental Health Workforce Regulation - How Amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act May Shape the Future of the Dental Profession. Journal of Law and Medicine, 26(1), 128-139.
  • Holden, A., Spallek, H. (2018). How compliant are dental practice Facebook pages with Australian health care advertising regulations? A Netnographic review. Australian Dental Journal, 63(1), 109-117. [More Information]
  • Jean, G., Holden, A., Tennant, M., Kruger, E. (2018). Infection Control Standards in Private Dental Practice - The Role of Accreditation. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(4), 1146-1156.
  • Holden, A., Spallek, H. (2018). Looking Gift-horses in the Mouth: Gift-giving, Incentives and Conflict of Interest in the Dental Profession. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(3), 794-799.
  • Holden, A., Jean, G., Tennant, M., Spallek, H. (2018). Professionalism by proxy: a case for the formal regulation of dental assistants in Australia. British Dental Journal, 225(6), 482-486. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). The future of failure to warn in dentistry after Montgomery: Reflections from Australia. British Dental Journal, 224(1), 11-14. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). The Use of Students as Surrogates: The Ethical Legal and Professional Issues of Student-Student Practical Learning in Dental Education. Journal of Law and Medicine, 127(73), 380-386.
  • Holden, A. (2018). The Use of Students as Surrogates: The Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues of Student-Student Practical Learning in Dental Education. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(2), 380-387.
  • Holden, A. (2018). What do dental codes of ethics and conduct suggest about attitudes to raising concerns and self-regulation? British Dental Journal, 224(4), 261-267. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2017). Dentistry's social contract and the loss of professionalism. Australian Dental Journal, 62(1), 79-83. [More Information]
  • Holden, A., Dracopoulos, S. (2017). Owning the Tooth: Exploring the ethical and legal issues relating to the use of extracted human teeth in dental education in Australia. Australian Dental Journal, 62(2), 146-151. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2017). Paradise Lost; the reputation of the dental profession and regulatory scope. British Dental Journal, 222(4), 239-241. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2017). Social media and professionalism: does the profession need to re-think the parameters of professionalism within social media? Australian Dental Journal, 62(1), 23-29. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2016). Reflections on the encouragement of altruism in dental education. European Journal of Dentistry, 22(1), e198-e202. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2016). Self-regulation in dentistry and the social contract. British Dental Journal, 221(8), 449-451. [More Information]

2019

  • Holden, A., Gibson, B., Spallek, H. (2019). Embarrassing Realities: the Portrayal of Dentistry in Reality TV 'Dentertainment'. Community Dental Health, 36(1), 46-54. [More Information]

2018

  • Holden, A. (2018). 'Blowing the whistle': The ethical, professional and legal implications of raising concerns and self-regulation within dentistry. Australian Dental Journal, 63(2), 150-155. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). A Whiter Shade of Grey: Comparisons of the Legal and Professional Status of Tooth Whitening in Three Jurisdictions. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(4), 1134-1145.
  • Dimitropoulos, Y., Holden, A., Gwynne, K., Irving, M., Binge, N., Blinkhorn, A. (2018). An assessment of strategies to control dental caries in Aboriginal children living in rural and remote communities in New South Wales, Australia. BMC Oral Health, 18(1), 177. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). Consumer-driven and commercialised practice in dentistry: an ethical and professional problem? Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 21(4), 583-589. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). Cosmetic dentistry: A socioethical evaluation. Bioethics, 32(9), 602-610. [More Information]
  • Jean, G., Holden, A., Tennant, M. (2018). Dental Health Workforce Regulation - How Amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act May Shape the Future of the Dental Profession. Journal of Law and Medicine, 26(1), 128-139.
  • Holden, A., Spallek, H. (2018). How compliant are dental practice Facebook pages with Australian health care advertising regulations? A Netnographic review. Australian Dental Journal, 63(1), 109-117. [More Information]
  • Jean, G., Holden, A., Tennant, M., Kruger, E. (2018). Infection Control Standards in Private Dental Practice - The Role of Accreditation. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(4), 1146-1156.
  • Holden, A., Spallek, H. (2018). Looking Gift-horses in the Mouth: Gift-giving, Incentives and Conflict of Interest in the Dental Profession. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(3), 794-799.
  • Holden, A., Jean, G., Tennant, M., Spallek, H. (2018). Professionalism by proxy: a case for the formal regulation of dental assistants in Australia. British Dental Journal, 225(6), 482-486. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). The future of failure to warn in dentistry after Montgomery: Reflections from Australia. British Dental Journal, 224(1), 11-14. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2018). The Use of Students as Surrogates: The Ethical Legal and Professional Issues of Student-Student Practical Learning in Dental Education. Journal of Law and Medicine, 127(73), 380-386.
  • Holden, A. (2018). The Use of Students as Surrogates: The Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues of Student-Student Practical Learning in Dental Education. Journal of Law and Medicine, 25(2), 380-387.
  • Holden, A. (2018). What do dental codes of ethics and conduct suggest about attitudes to raising concerns and self-regulation? British Dental Journal, 224(4), 261-267. [More Information]

2017

  • Holden, A. (2017). Dentistry's social contract and the loss of professionalism. Australian Dental Journal, 62(1), 79-83. [More Information]
  • Holden, A., Dracopoulos, S. (2017). Owning the Tooth: Exploring the ethical and legal issues relating to the use of extracted human teeth in dental education in Australia. Australian Dental Journal, 62(2), 146-151. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2017). Paradise Lost; the reputation of the dental profession and regulatory scope. British Dental Journal, 222(4), 239-241. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2017). Social media and professionalism: does the profession need to re-think the parameters of professionalism within social media? Australian Dental Journal, 62(1), 23-29. [More Information]

2016

  • Holden, A. (2016). Reflections on the encouragement of altruism in dental education. European Journal of Dentistry, 22(1), e198-e202. [More Information]
  • Holden, A. (2016). Self-regulation in dentistry and the social contract. British Dental Journal, 221(8), 449-451. [More Information]

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