Dr Denise Higgins

Dr Denise Higgins

Lecturer

School of Health Sciences (Oral Health)

Career Summary

Biography

Denise is currently employed as a Lecturer and the Program Convenor for the Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy Program with The University of Newcastle. Her qualifications include a PhD in Oral Health simulation, Diploma in Applied Science in Dental Therapy, Bachelor of Oral Health, Bachelor of Health Science [Honors] and graduate certificates in the Practice of Tertiary Teaching and Clinical Simulation. Her research areas include simulation in oral health and higher education.

Denise is an innovator of fit-for-purpose simulation technology to enhance the student experience in the educational environment. Denise's creations include the design and development of a synthetic tissue simulator capable of repeated needle insertion and dental local anaesthetic deposition. Denise was also the original creator of the dental local anaesthetic virtual reality which was developed in collaboration with the Innovation Team as a serious game for the purpose of learning dental local anaesthetic administration.

Denise joined The Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists' Association (ADOHTA) NSW branch Executive Committee and has served as a general member, Vice President and is the current President. During her time on the committee she has also fulfilled the role of Newsletter Editor. She is a member of ADOHTA (NSW), Simulation Australasia, College of Oral Health Academics (COHA), UON oral health external advisory group, UON BOHT Clinical Advisory Group and a peer reviewer for academic journals.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Oral Health, University of Newcastle
  • Diploma of Applied Science (Dental Therapy), Victorian School of Dental Therapy
  • Bachelor of Oral Health, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours), University of Newcastle
  • Graduate Certificate Practice of Tertiary Teaching, University of Newcastle
  • Graduate Certificate in Clinical Simulation, Monash University

Keywords

  • BOHT
  • Dental Therapy
  • Oral Health Therapy
  • PhD
  • Simulation
  • VR
  • Virtual Reality

Languages

  • English (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
080110 Simulation and Modelling 50
110599 Dentistry not elsewhere classified 25
130103 Higher Education 25

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/02/2019 -  Program Convenor The University of Newcastle
Oral Health
Australia

Membership

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/01/2019 -  Member Dental Hygiene Association Australia
Australia
4/05/2016 -  Victorian Simulation Alliance Member Victorian Simulation Alliance
Australia
1/01/2016 -  IADR Member International Association for Dental Research
United States
23/06/2015 -  Society for Simulation in Healthcare Member Society for Simulation in Healthcare
United States
19/06/2015 -  Simulation Australasia Member Simulation Australasia Ltd
1/09/2014 -  President ADOHTA (NSW) Inc.
Australia
1/09/2012 - 1/09/2014 Vice President ADOHTA (NSW) Inc.
Australia
1/09/2011 - 1/09/2012 General Executive ADOHTA (NSW) Inc.
Australia
31/01/2010 -  COHA Member College of Oral Health Academics
COHA
Australia
31/03/1995 -  ADOHTA Membership Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association Inc.
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
19/12/2008 - 31/01/2010 Oral Health Therapist Hunter New England Local Health District
Hunter New England Oral Health
1/08/1995 - 18/12/2008 Dental Therapist Hunter New England Oral Health
Australia
1/01/1991 - 31/07/1995 Dental Therapist Dental Health Services Victoria
Australia

Awards

Award

Year Award
2019 Oral Health Practitioner of the Year
Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association Inc.
2019 iTnews Benchmark Award for Emerging Technology
iTnews Benchmark Awards
2019 Clinical Leader of the Year
Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association Inc.
2019 Educator / Researcher of the Year
Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association Inc.

Nomination

Year Award
2019 Australian Awards for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
Australian Awards for University Teaching, Universities Australia, Government of Australia

Teaching Award

Year Award
2018 DVC-A Merit List Learning and Teaching Excellence
The University of Newcastle
2018 Overall Award - Vice-Chancellor's Award For Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning 2018
The University of Newcastle
2018 Vice-Chancellor's Award For Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning 2018
The University of Newcastle
2018 Teaching Excellence and Contribution to Student Learning
The University of Newcastle
2015 Faculty of Health and Medicine Teaching and Learning Award
The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Invitations

Panel Participant

Year Title / Rationale
2019 Women in Simulation
2014 The PhD Journey: Is it for you?
A facilitator led interview panel providing personal experiences and relevant information for Oral Health Therapists considering higher degree research and PhD candidature.

Speaker

Year Title / Rationale
2019 VR in Teaching - Barriers and Opportunities
2019 ANZSPD SA & ADOHTA SANT Adolescent Dentistry
The multidisciplinary provision of oral health care for adolescent patients: Is it really that simple?
2018 Learning Lunchbox
Learning Lunchbox sessions are one hour seminars comprising of informative presentations to enhance Teaching and Learning. My presentation contribution titled 'Oral Health Instructional Videos' included how to incorporate videos into discipline curriculum to benefit student learning through online standardised instructional design teaching.
2017 Improving Oral Health Outcomes using an Integrated Intraprofessional Approach

ADOHTA is the national professional association for oral health practitioners which includes oral health therapists, dental therapists and dental hygienists. ADOHTA advocates for its members and provides professional support for oral health teams to enhance efficiency, productivity, practitioner utilisation and define responsibilities. Our mission is to support collaborative team-based care encompassing oral health practitioners, other dental practitioners and health care providers to enable holistic person-centred care. ADOHTA can assist you to understand these relationships so you can achieve the best oral health outcomes for your patients.


Manuscript Reviews

Year Title Publication Type Publisher Description
2016 Virtual Reality Simulation Preclinical Dentistry. Can a virtual reality simulator replace the traditional phantom heads and facilitators' instruction? Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal (HERDC) Simulation in Healthcare Journal <span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;font-size:small;">In preclinical dental education, the acquisition of clinical, technical skills and the transfer of these skills to the clinic, where real patients are treated, are of paramount importance. Phantom heads provide an efficient way to teach preclinical students dental procedures safely while increasing their dexterity skills considerably. Technological advances have facilitated the incorporation of virtual reality simulation technology in preclinical operative dental education. The aim of this review is to discuss the evidence of the effectiveness and feasibility of the virtual reality simulators as appears in the international literature. A comprehensive literature search was conducted and identified 16 relevant empirical studies. Based on the existing literature combining and alternating the traditional and pioneering virtual reality simulation methods and feedback may enhance the students learning experience and skill acquisition; however, the role of faculty instruction is still critical.</span>
2015 Oral Health Educators Perceptions Student to Student Administration of Local Anaesthetic Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal (HERDC) ANZJDOHT Journal <p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-NZ" style="font-size:12.0pt;">The objective of this study was to explore the oral health educators&rsquo; perceptions of student-to-student administration of local anaesthesia as a pedagogical method.&nbsp;</span><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:12pt;line-height:107%;">Oral health educators are mostly in support of student-to-student administration of local anaesthesia as a pedagogical strategy. A relatively small number of the educators are not supporters of this method of experiential learning.</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;"></p>

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
ORHL6001 Restorative Dentistry
The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Lecturer and Clinical Tutor 15/01/2010 - 31/12/2014
ORHL6002 Paediatric Dentistry
The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Lecturer and Clinical Tutor 15/01/2010 - 31/12/2014
ORHL6003 Management of Acute Conditions in Oral Health
The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Lecturer and Clinical Tutor 15/01/2010 - 31/12/2014
ORHL1101 Oral Health Sciences I
The University of Newcastle - The School of Health Sciences
Lecturer and Tutor 1/01/2015 - 1/01/0001
ORHL1104 Oral Health Therapy Clinical Skills II
The University of Newcastle - The School of Health Sciences
Lecturer and Simulation Educator 1/07/2015 - 1/01/0001
ORHL2103 Oral Health Therapy Clinical Skills IV
The University of Newcastle - The School of Health Sciences
Lecturer, Tutor, Simulation Educator and Clinical Tutor 1/01/2016 - 1/01/0001
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2015 Higgins D, Smith L, Masoe AV, Wallace JP, 'The PhD journey: is it for you? Report of a Facilitated Panel Discussion and Conference Presentation', Australian and New Zealand Journal of Dental and Oral Health Therapy, 21-25 (2015) [C2]
Co-authors Lsmith2, Janet Wallace

Conference (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2014 Wallace JP, Higgins D, Masoe A, Smith L, 'The PhD journey: is it for you?', Port Macquarie (2014)
Co-authors Lsmith2, Janet Wallace

Design (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Higgins D, Dental Local Anaesthetic Simulator (2017)

Other (44 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Higgins D, 'Oral Health Therapy Individual Clinical Professional Development Course', ( pp.1-169) (2017)
2017 Higgins D, Taylor JA, Wallace JP, Hayes MJ, 'The innovation and design of a local anaesthetic simulator capable of repeated injections and deposition of solution', Poster (2017)
Co-authors Jane Taylor
2017 Higgins D, 'Scope of Practice in Orthodontics', (2017) [O1]
2017 Higgins D, 'ADOHTA (NSW) & DHAA NSW Combined CPD Dinner Meeting', (2017) [O1]
2017 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Class V Cavity Preparation in the Permanent Dentition'', (2017) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2016 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Strip Crowns for Primary Incisors', (2016) [O1]
2016 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Extraction Techniques for the Primary Dentition', (2016) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2016 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Splints for Traumatised Permanent Incisors', (2016) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2016 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Exodontia Posture and Positioning', (2016) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2016 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Extraction Instruments'', (2016) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Restoring with Glass Ionomer Cement', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Tunnel Preparation for the Permanent Dentition', (2015) [O1]
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Minimal Class I Cavity Preparation in the Permanent Dentition', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Class VI Cavity Preparation in the Permanent Dentition', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Fissure Sealants', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Class III Cavity Preparation in the permanent Dentition', (2015) [O1]
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Restoring with Composite Resin', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Class IV Cavity Preparation in the permanent Dentition', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Cavity design and preparation', (2015) [O1]
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Matrices and Celluloid Strips', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Finger Rests', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Class II MOD Cavity Preparation for Amalgam Restoration in the Permanent Dentition', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Hand Instruments for Clinical Practice in the BOHT Program', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Restoring with Glass Ionomer Cement'', (2015)
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Tunnel Preparation for the Permanent Dentition'', (2015)
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Handpiece Use for Clinical Practice in the BOHT Program'', (2015)
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Class II Cavity Preparation in the Permanenet Dentition'', (2015)
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Class III Cavity Preparation in the Permanent Dentition'', (2015)
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Rubber Dam use for Clinical Practice in the BOHT Program'', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Moisture Control'', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Oral Health Simulation Laboratory'', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Assessing Occlusion'', (2015) [O1]
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Rotary Burs for Clinical Practice in the BOHT Program'', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Class I Cavity Preparation for Amalgam Restoration in the Permanent Dentition'', (2015) [O1]
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Approximal Cavity Preparations in the Permananet Dentition - Slot Prep'', (2015) [O1]
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Extensive Occlusal Cavity Preparation in the Permanent Dentition'', (2015) [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
2015 Higgins D, Wallace JP, ''Class I Cavity Preparation in the Permanent Dentition'', (2015) [O1]
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Composite Resin Restorative Material', [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Handpiece Use for Clinical Practice in the BOHT Program', [O1]
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Dispensing Dental Medicaments and Materials', [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Glass Ionomer Cement', [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Dental Amalgam', [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Pulp Vitality Testing for the Permanent Dentition', [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
Higgins D, Wallace JP, 'Linings and Bases for Clinical Practice in the BOHT Program', [O1]
Co-authors Janet Wallace
Show 41 more others

Thesis / Dissertation (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Higgins D, The Implementation of Instructional Design for Dental and Oral Health Simulated-Based Learning Experience for Psychomotor Skill Acquisition supported by a Conceptual Framework and Educational Theories, The University of Newcastle (2019)
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 11
Total funding $586,762

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20193 grants / $27,500

EMS Airflow Technology$22,000

The EMS Airflow Technology is used for Guided Biofilm Therapy for student learning and patient oral health care.

Funding body: University of Newcastle - School of Health Sciences

Funding body University of Newcastle - School of Health Sciences
Project Team

Dr Denise Higgins; Dr Jayne Jones; Associate Professor Janet Wallace; Dr Linda Wallace; Dr Kay Franks

Scheme Research Equipment Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

VR for periodontal probing - haptic device$4,700

The grant is to purchase the simulator device with haptic force-feedback technology to support the development of the Virtual Reality simulation for Periodontal Probing.

Funding body: The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team

Dr Linda Wallace; Dr Denise Higgins; Associate Professor Janet Wallace

Scheme New Course Initiative
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Conference Travel Grant$800

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Conference Travel Grant

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Conference Travel Grant
Project Team

Dr Denise Higgins

Scheme Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Conference Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20182 grants / $5,412

PhD write up assistance$4,662

Funding body: School of Health Science Research and Research Training Committee

Funding body School of Health Science Research and Research Training Committee
Project Team

Denise Higgins, Associate Professor Janet Wallace, Professor Jane Taylor, Dr Melanie Hayes

Scheme SHS 2018 Strategic Pilot Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Aust Competitive - Commonwealth
Category 1CS
UON N

Conference Travel Grant$750

Funding body: Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Conference Travel Grant

Funding body Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Conference Travel Grant
Project Team

Denise Higgins

Scheme Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Conference Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding C4000 - CRC UON Participant
Category 4000
UON N

20174 grants / $552,000

Senior Smiles preventive oral health program for older people living in Residential Aged Care Facilities$540,000

Funding body: Elderslee Foundation Australia Ltd

Funding body Elderslee Foundation Australia Ltd
Project Team Associate Professor Janet Wallace, Professor Jane Taylor, Doctor Denise Higgins, Doctor Linda Wallace
Scheme Philanthropic grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1701230
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

College of Oral Health Academics Meeting 2017$5,000

Funding body: Erskine Dental

Funding body Erskine Dental
Project Team

Denise Higgins; Dr Janet Wallace

Scheme Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy Program
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Donation - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFD
UON N

College of Oral Health Academics Meeting 2017$5,000

Funding body: Colgate Palmolive

Funding body Colgate Palmolive
Project Team

Dr Janet Wallace; A/Prof Jane Taylor; Denise Higgins

Scheme Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy Program
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Donation - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFD
UON N

College of Oral Health Academics Meeting 2017$2,000

Funding body: One Dental

Funding body One Dental
Project Team

Denise Higgins and Dr Janet Wallace

Scheme Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy Program
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Donation - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFD
UON N

20161 grants / $990

Dental Local Anaesthetic Simulator$990

Contribution grant to fund dental local anaesthetic prototype simulator.

Funding body: Mentone Educational

Funding body Mentone Educational
Project Team

Denise Higgins; A/Prof Jane Taylor; Dr Janet Wallace

Scheme Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy Program
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Donation - Aust Non Government
Category 3AFD
UON N

20141 grants / $860

Cutting Edge Oral Health, Panthers Entertainment Complex, 1 Bray Street Port Macquarie, NSW 2014, 26 - 27 September 2014$860

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project Team Doctor Denise Higgins
Scheme Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2014
GNo G1400953
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current2

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2019 Honours Oral Health students’ understanding of the important concept of leadership imbedded in professionalism Dental Studs Not Elswr Classif, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2019 Honours Hall Technique versus Reduction Technique: Which is preferred by qualified Oral Health Practitioners? Dental Studs Not Elswr Classif, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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Research Projects

Dental Local Anaesthetic Virtual Reality 2017 - 2018

The Dental Local Anaesthetic Virtual Reality program was developed in collaboration with the UON Innovation Team and the Oral Health Academics. The virtual reality was developed to support existing teaching and learning, and to provide anatomy and physiology insight during the virtual administration of dental local anaesthetic.


Periodontal Virtual Reality 2019 -

A proof-of-concept project for periodontal virtual reality to support student learning.


Dental Local Anaesthetic Simulator 2016 - 2017

A joint collaboration with UON Oral Health, Mentone Educational  and Syndaver Labs has resulted in the innovation, design, development, production and implementation of a world-first dental local anaesthetic simulator for student use.


Oral Health Simulation Tricoloured Dentaprac 2014 - 2015

A collaboration between UON Oral Health and One Dental Australia resulted in the innovation, design and unique printing on the tricoloured dentaprac for Oral Health Simulation. The dentaprac allows for greater objectivity for student learning and assessing in the simulated learning environment.


Oral Health Simulation Unique Caries Teeth Design 2014 - 2017

A continuing relationship between UON Oral Health and One Dental Australia results in the innovation, design, development and production of uniquely manufactured carious primary and permanent teeth.


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News

Oral health students test their nerve in the virtual world

October 30, 2018

The dentist’s chair may soon be less daunting, with a ground-breaking simulation from the University of Newcastle providing Oral Health Therapy students a unique opportunity to practice administering dental injections in a virtual environment before they enter the patient clinic.

Dr Denise Higgins

Position

Lecturer
Oral Health
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Focus area

Oral Health

Contact Details

Email denise.higgins@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4348 4671
Mobile 0466 808 638
Fax (02) 4349 4538
Links Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Office

Room MP 212
Building Multipurpose Building
Location Ourimbah
10 Chittaway Road
Ourimbah, NSW 2258
Australia
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