The heads of dental schools in Australia and New Zealand met fairly often but at irregular intervals for many years to discuss the common challenges they had faced. The group, known as ‘CHADDS’ – Council of Heads and Deans of Dental Schools held valuable discussions, but had no official standing.
In 2005 Professor Newell Johnson, Foundation Dean of the School of Dentistry and Oral Health at Griffith University, had a vision to make the group more pro-active in bringing the value of dental academia to the attention of stakeholders including politicians and the public; in explaining the challenges of funding and of obtaining adequate human resources for teaching and research; and in offering expert advice to policy makers.
In 2007 Professor Johnson assumed the role of interim Chair, he held this position until 2010 when the group changed their name to the Australasian Council of Dental Schools (ACODS) and was formally incorporated.
In 2010 Professor Johann De Vries, Dean of University of Adelaide Dental School, was elected as President of ACODS and held this position until January 2014. During his tenure, he coordinated dental submissions to State and Federal Governments highlighting the cost of dental education, the lack of dental academic workforce and the need for better data to inform decisions on workforce needs and distribution and education models. He advocated strongly for dental schools resulting in acknowledgement of the high costs of dental education, the benefit dental schools provide to community health care by direct treatment to patients in metropolitan and rural sites and the advanced nature of dental simulation in Australia and New Zealand.
In 2014, Professor Chris Peck, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Sydney, was elected as Chair of ACODS and held this position until February 2017. During his tenure, ACODS focussed on key strategic areas of research excellence, development of academic workforce, specialist education models and developing a clinical education placement framework that can be used by all schools. ACODS developed strong working relationships with accrediting and regulatory authorities, dental associations, dental industry and state and federal governments which has facilitated the acknowledgement of the issues inherent in these strategic issues and provided a collaborative approach to solve these problems.
In February 2017, Professor Paul Brunton, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Otago, New Zealand was elected as Chair of ACODS and currently holds this position.