Friday, 29 April 2011

The Editors Of Oral Health

Editing Oral Health

100 Years of Dental Education

In 1911, 100 years ago, Oral Health was founded (Johnson 353). As one of the earliest dental journals, it was born during a time when oral health was not a common concern and dentistry was in the delicate process of professionalizing (Seccombe c 6-7). This was a time when preventive dentistry was a new and rare occurrence (Seccombe c 6-7).

The following will trace the evolution of Oral Health by the prestigious editors at the helm of the esteemed journal. Many of these editors provide a link between the educational journal and the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto. The rise of dentistry in Canada and the continued education of the profession is thanks in great part to these two institutions – Oral Health and the Faculty of Dentistry.

It all starts with the man whose vision led him to found the journal – Dr. Wallace Seccombe.

Dr. Wallace Seccombe (1911-1936)

(Cowling b 334)
Dr. Wallace Seccombe was a man with strong convictions. There are two things that Dr. Seccombe powerfully believed in –preventative dentistry and dental education (Johnson 352-353). Dr. Seccombe founded Oral Health in the hopes that it could help to spread his convictions to dentists across Canada (Seccombe c 8).

Dr. Seccombe wished to help change the perception of dentists as surgeons to dentists as physicians (Seccombe c 7). This would cause a foundational shift in how dentistry was viewed and practiced. Dentistry, at this point in time, was seen as a reactive measure taken once a problem had occurred. Dr. Seccombe wanted to change this; his viewpoint can be summed up nicely with the subheading he used for his journal– “a journal that stands for the ‘ounce of prevention’ as well as the ‘pound of cure’” (Seccombe c 5). The fight to impress the importance of daily care of the mouth is one of preventative dentistry which requires dental education to succeed.

Dr. Seccombe passionately believed that there was a need to educate the general public on the necessity of oral hygiene for general health and the importance of dentists (Seccombe c 6). Dr. Seccombe believed the best way to educate the public was to talk to children. He asserted that the campaign for oral health should be accomplished through schools (Seccombe b 22). Dr. Seccombe pioneered the creation of dental clinics in schools administered by the Department of Health (Kerr a 5).

Dr. Seccombe’s desire to educate people about dentistry included not just the general public but the education of dentists themselves. Dr. Seccombe saw an increase of Canadian settlers who would need dentists which is what he used to argue the case for the establishment of a formal dental program (Seccombe a 182). Dr. Seccombe became the Dean of the School of Dentistry at the Royal College of Dental Surgeons (Kerr 5). In 1925 Dr. Seccombe helped elevate the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario to faculty status at the University of Toronto (Falconer 59).

Dr. Wallace Seccombe was born and educated in Toronto (Kerr a 5). He graduated from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons in 1900 and joined the staff in 1912 (Kerr a 5). At the University of Toronto Dr. Seccombe was part of the Canadian Oral Hygiene Council and the Canadian Oral Prophylactic Association (Johnson a 353). Seccombe was appointed the first Chair of Preventative Dentistry in the world, a position he occupied until his death (Kerr a 5). Dr. Seccombe served as the president of the American Association of Dental Schools (Kerr a 5).

Oral Health began with 500 copies in 1911 (Cowling a 57). When Dr. Wallace Seccombe died in 1936 over 4,000 copies were printed and distributed (Cowling a 58).

Please check here for Dr. Seccombe' bibliography.

Dr. Thomas Cowling (1936-1950)

(Cowling b 336)
In 1936 when Dr. Wallace Seccombe died suddenly Dr. Thomas Cowling stepped up to the editorial plate (Johnson b 357). Dr. Cowling was also Vice Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto (Johnson b 357).

Dr. Cowling had the difficult task of keeping Oral Health running during the war. The editorial staff was decimated thanks to the war and Dr. Cowling was left practically alone to keep the journal going (Johnson b 357-358).

Dr. Cowling had a Masters Degree in Arts and Doctorate Degree in Paedagogy. He was a member of the University of Toronto staff for 37 years; for eight of those years Dr. Cowling served as the Assistant Dean (Smith a). Cowling was editor of Oral Health for 14 years until he died unexpectedly in 1950 (Wesley 21).

Dr. Wesley Dunn (1951-1953)

("The new editor" 23)
After the untimely death of Dr. Thomas Cowling, Dr. Wesley Dunn became the new editor (Wesley 21). Dr. Dunn established an Editorial Board. This board was made up of general practitioner consultants, specialist consultants, regional consultants and an international board (Johnson b 358).

Dr. Dunn was a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry. He was the secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Society of Dentistry for Children ("The New Editor").

In 1953 Dr. Dunn resigned in order to become the editor of the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association (Johnson b 358).

Dr. J. H. Johnson (1953-1966)

(Smith b)
When Dr. Wesley Dunn left Oral Health Dr. J. H. Johnson became the Chairman of the Editorial Board (Smith b). Prior to becoming Chairman for Oral Health’s Editorial Board, Dr. Johnson was an associate editor for a number of different dental journals (Smith b).

Dr. Johnson graduated from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario in 1925 (Smith b). He was a Professor and head of the Department of Oral Surgery and Anaesthesia in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto (Smith b). Dr. Johnson also acted as the librarian of the Faculty of Dentistry Library (Smith b).

Dr. Johnson left Oral Health to collect and compile information on the history of dentistry in Ontario.

Dr. Blake McAdam (1966-1969)

(McAdam 708)
Dr. Blake McAdam was the fifth editor of Oral Health (McAdam 708). Dr. McAdam became head of the Editorial Board when Dr. Johnson stepped down (McAdam 709).

Dr. McAdam grew up in Toronto and was educated at the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto (McAdam 708). Dr. McAdam served as a Dental Officer in the Royal Canadian Dental Corps from 1945-1947 and then in the militia from 1949-1963 (McAdam 708). Prior to becoming Chairman of the Editorial Board at Oral Health, Dr. McAdam was an Associate professor in Operative Dentistry at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry and a consultant in operative dentistry on the Editorial Board (McAdam 708).

In 1969 Dr. McAdam left Oral Health to take on a full time teaching position in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto (Kerr b 9).

Dr. James M. Kerr (1969-Present)

(Kerr b 11)

Dr. James Kerr became the Chairman of the Editorial Board in 1969 when Dr. McAdam left to pursue teaching (Kerr b 9).

Dr. Kerr began his career in publishing as a Group Publisher for the business magazine division of Southam Inc. ("Editorial Board"). Dr. Kerr returned to school to acquire his DDS from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto in 1966 ("Editorial Board").

With Dr. Kerr at the helm of Oral Health it has maintained its primary purpose – to educate and promote preventive dentistry. When Oral Health began it was primarily articles and abstracts from other journals. Today 70% of the articles are original (“Oral Health Journal” 23). There are 18 members on the Editorial Board including many University of Toronto alumni, clinical instructors and faculty members (“Oral Health Journal” 23). The journal maintains its strong connection with the Faculty of Dentistry that its founder created.

Works Cited

Cowling, Thomas. a  “The Future of Oral Health.” Oral Health 26.2 (1936): 57-58. Print.

Cowling, Thomas. b "50 Years of Progress." Oral Health 50.5 (1960): 334.

"Editorial Board." Oral Health 80.1 (1990): 8. Print.
Falconer, Robert. “The Late Dean Wallace Seccombe D.D.S., F.A.C.D..” Oral Health  26.2 (1936) 59-61. Print.

Johnson, J. H. a “Dr. Seccombe – Oral Health.” Oral Health 57.5 (1967): 353-354. Print.

Johnson, J. H. b “Fifty Years On.” Oral Health 50.5 (1960): 356-358. Print.

Kerr, James M. a. “A Break with Tradition: After 60 Years A New Look.” Oral Health  61.1 (1971): 5. Print.

Kerr, James M. b. “A New Year – A New Chairman.” Oral Health 59.1 (1969): 9-11. Print.

McAdam, D. Blake. “Editorial.” Oral Health 56.11 (1966): 708-709. Print.

“Oral Health Journal.” Alumni Today 29.1 (2011): 22-23. Print.

Seccombe, Wallace b. “Editorial.” Oral Health 1.1 (1911): 22-26. Print.

Seccombe, Wallace c. “Foreword.” Oral Health 1.1 (1911): 5-8. Print.

Seccombe, Wallace a. “Dental Education of the Public.” Oral Health 1.8 (1911): 181-186. Print.

Smith, Phyllis a. “Dr. Thomas Cowling.” Dentistry Library Digital Archive. University of Toronto. n.d. Web. 14 April 2011

Smith, Phyllis b. “Johnson, J. H.” Dentistry Library Digital Archive. University of Toronto. n.d. Web. 14 April 2011

"The New Editor." Oral Health 41.1 (1951): 23. Print.

Wesley, Dunn. “Editorial: The New Phase.” Oral Health 41.1 (1951): 21-22. Print.

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