Listening to Each Other in Australia and Beyond

April 3, 2012

I would like to congratulate the authors of the "Listening to Each Other" article1 on the work they are doing with underprivileged patient populations. Evidence in Australia suggests that only 39% of Australians are regularly accessing general and preventive dental care. Obviously, the cost of care is a major factor in the less than ideal attendance of the other 61%. But there are also many other factors, and often these factors all seem to mutually reinforce each other, especially in less privileged populations.

"Listening to each other" is a great idea. I came up with a related concept of an initial "find out appointment" which invites the dentist or oral health professional to ask patients attending for checkups a series of questions and to share stories. This is followed by an examination, then a chat between dentist and patient (if he or she is interested) in order to achieve a shared understanding of what should happen next.

I believe your work is universally applicable and has global significance, and I can't think of anything more important. Keep up your great work.

Dr. Bruce Simmons

Alice Springs, Australia


  1. Lévesque MC, Bedos C. "Listening to each other": a project to improve relationships with underserved members of our society. J Can Dent Assoc. 2012;77:c20.