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How do Canadian dental students perceive setting up a practice in rural areas?

Nastaran Sharifian PicDr. John O’Keefe spoke with Dr. Nastaran Sharifian, currently studying for a master’s degree at the University of Montreal. Dr. Sharifian conducted research on the topic of access to dental care in rural areas of Canada.




Research Aims

Help understand dental students’ perceptions of setting up a practice in rural areas. The assumption was that understanding the barriers to setting up practice in rural areas, could help design strategies to encourage young dentists to practice in those areas.


The project aims to:

  • Draw attention on the current situation of oral health and access to oral health care in rural and remote Quebec.
  • Highlight the increasing demand of dental workforce in these areas.
  • Encourage oral health service providers to practice in Quebec’s rural and remote regions.
  • Motivate policy makers to enhances social infrastructure and rural and remote development
  • Support rural and remote communities to achieve better oral health, general health and quality of life.

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  1. In my opinion, in order to get dentists to set up in rural areas, then more dental students need to be selected for admission to dental schools who are from rural areas. Within my group of friends from dental school, all of us returned to where we grew up. Nine of them from Toronto, all returned to Toronto. The two from rural Ottawa area, went back there, and I went back to small farming community where I grew up in SW Ontario.

    • I agree with the above statement. However, I grew up in MIssissauga but I broke out of the GTA and set up shop 2 hours away from Toronto. Luckily my parents moved to be near us and now live down the street.

    • Mark Dickerson is right on. If you want dentists to practice in rural areas, you need to attract and accept dental students from rural areas. I am a dentist in rural Manitoba, and I grew up in rural Manitoba. People from cities tend to stay in cities. People from rural areas tend to stay in rural areas.

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