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The Evolving Concept of Public Interest and Its Impact on Dentistry

Dr. Tracy Adams, Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology at Western University, spoke with Dr. John O’Keefe about the constantly evolving concept of public interest and its impact on dentistry. 

Read Dr. Adams’ article: Professional Self-Regulation and the Public Interest in Canada (PDF)


  • The regulation of professional groups has often been justified as being in the public interest.
  • In recent decades, policymakers in Anglo-American countries have questioned whether self-regulating professions have truly served the public interest, or whether they have merely acted in their own interests.
  • Based on legislative records and policy reports an exploration is undertaken of meanings attached to professional self-regulation and the public interest in Canada by state actors over the past 150 years.
  • There is a shift in the definition of the public interest away from service quality and professional interests, towards efficiency, human rights, consumer choice, and in some contexts business interests. Changing views of the public interest contribute to regulatory change.



One comment

  1. An Example:
    The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) follows the leadership of the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). The CDC is funded through a Trust that receives money from institutions, governments and the private sector. The CDC has handed the control of Lyme disease over to a private group the International Disease Society of America (IDSA). Although a non profit, the IDSA manage to control all the tests, definitions , regulations and treatment for Lyme disease to the exclusion of all others just as a monopoly in business would do. It’s what happens when insurance companies dictate our health policy and they can use their influence across borders. They depend on a limited amount of evidenced based medicine (EBM) but it is not science based. They have made no advancements in testing or diagnostics for the last 30 years. The system is not self correcting as there is no open debate. It is an example of what can go wrong when big business and big power get together.

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