Creating smiles

Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science

Griffith University dentistry graduate Dr Michael Baker is using his education to support better health in Indigenous communities.

A Birri-Gubba-Yuggera man on his mother's side, Dr Baker was the volunteer program coordinator of Hope4Health's dental clinic in Cherbourg during his time at Griffith, and a 2015 Queensland finalist in the Young Australian of the Year awards.

Now based in Toowoomba, where he owns and directs his own dental practice, Dr Baker remains committed to improving Indigenous health.

He says his Indigenous heritage played a "huge role" in why he worked as coordinator of the program.

"I feel as an Indigenous dentist that I need to give back to the community as well," Mr Baker said.

Through Dr Baker's work at Hope4Health, dental students in their final years of training conduct four supervised dental clinics and treat over 400 people each year in the Cherbourg community.

With the closest dental clinic more than an hour away and the wait list more than two years, Dr Baker and his team filled the gap, providing dental treatment as well as education.

"I feel it's important to give back to the community, but also to educate the younger people of Indigenous communities and basically be a role model,” he says.

"I think that's a really important thing—a role model and a mentor for the future generations."

Mr Baker has finished university and will soon be a registered dentist working in Toowoomba. However, it is not the end of his involvement with the Hope for Health program.

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