Professor Deborah White PhD, FHEA, MCDH, DDPHRCS, BDS

Professor Deborah White

School of Dentistry
Professor of Dental Public Health

Contact details

The School of Dentistry
5 Mill Pool Way
B5 7EG
United Kingdom

Deborah White is Professor of Dental Public Health and Director of Education and Senior Welfare Tutor in the School of Dentistry in the Institute of Clinical Sciences.

Her research interests centre on dental epidemiology and health services research. She has contributed to five major UK surveys of dental health, which have been funded by the Department of Health.


  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy 2005.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 2002.
  • PhD Dental Public Health 2000.
  • Master in Community Dental Health 1991.
  • Diploma in Dental Public Health Royal College of Surgeons 1989.
  • BDS 1976.


Deborah White qualified with a BDS from the Victoria University of Manchester in 1976 and following experience in general dental practice and industrial dentistry, worked for many years in the Community Dental Service. Following a period of part-time study, she was awarded a Diploma in Dental Public Health from the Royal College of Surgeons in 1989 and a MCDH from the University of Birmingham in 1991.

Deborah joined the University of Birmingham in 1993 as a part-time researcher and moved on to become a full time member of staff in 1999. She completed her PhD in 2000 and, as Head of Dental Public Health, has research interests in dental epidemiology and health services research.

Deborah undertakes clinical teaching and clinical work in the salaried dental services in Birmingham. She also has a keen interest in dental team training, having been an examiner for the national dental nursing certificate as well as having a quality assurance role with the University of Birmingham BSc in Dental Hygiene and Therapy.


Postgraduate supervision

Deborah is interested in supervising doctoral research students in the area of Dental Public Health, in particular:

  • Primary dental care services.
  • Interface between primary and secondary dental care services.
  • Dental epidemiology.

If you are interested in research in any of these broad areas, please contact Deborah on the contact details above.


Child Dental Health Survey 2013 – a national study of children’s dental health in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is being undertaken by a consortium including the Office for National Statistics and other Dental Institutions. This is the fifth in a series of studies which provide a picture of the changing and improving oral health in children.

Adult Dental Health Survey 2009 – a national collaborative study of the current status of dental health of UK adults. This study is the fifth in a series of national dental surveys carried out every ten years since 1968. These surveys have provided an important picture of the improvements in oral health throughout the UK population.

Career progression and practising location of dentists – work has been undertaken to look at West Midlands’ dentists and the location of their practice and graduation. In addition factors affecting their choice of type and location of job have been identified. Geographical Information Systems have been used to identify the influence of dental schools on the practising locations of dentists. This builds on work that Deborah undertook for her PhD using GIS as a tool to analyse dental information.

Referral practices – work has been undertaken to investigate patterns of patient referrals from primary to secondary dental care and to identify relevant patient and dentist factors which are linked to high and low referral rates.

Other activities

  • Honorary Consultant, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust since 2007.
  • Honorary Senior Dentist, Combined Community Dental Services, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust since 2000.
  • Chair, Central Committee for Dental Academic Staff, British Dental Association since 2011 and member of committee since 2001.


Watt RG, Steele JG, Treasure ET, White DA, Pitts NB, Murray JJ. Adult Dental Health Survey 2009: implications of findings for clinical practice and oral health policy. Br Dent J (2013) 214(2): 71-5

 White DA, Tsakos G, Pitts NB, Fuller E, Douglas GVA, Murray JJ, Steele JG.Adult Dental Health Survey 2009: common oral health conditions and their impact on the population. Brit Dent J (2012) 213(11): 567-572

Tomson MAH, White DA, Morris AJ. Professional careers of graduates from one UK dental school. Community Dent Health (2012) 29(3): 252-256

Roskell C, White D, Bonner C. Developing patient-centred care in health professionals: reflections on introducing service-learning into the curriculum. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation (2012) 19 (8) 448-456

Hill KB, Burke FJ, Brown J, Macdonald EB, Morris AJ, White DA, Murray K. Dental practitioners and ill health retirement: a qualitative investigation into the causes and effects. Br Dent J (2010) 209(5): E8

Brown J, Burke FJ, Macdonald EB, Gilmour H, Hill KB, Morris AJ, White DA, Muirhead EK, Murray K. Dental practitioners and ill health retirement: causes, outcomes and re-employment. Br Dent J (2010) 209(5): E7

Hill KB, Morris AJ, White DA, McHugh S, Atwal R, Burke FJT. A comparison of Personal Dental Service (PDS) and General Dental Service (GDS) patients in terms of reported interventions, oral health and dentists’ perceptions. Community Dent Health (2009) 26(3): 170-176

McCormick RJ, Smith R, Edwards D, White D, Langford J. The distribution of general dental practitioners with NHS contract numbers in relation to the distance of their practices from the seven dental undergraduate teaching hospitals in England outside London. Community Dental Health (2008) 25: 201-204

Oliver R, Kersten H, Vinkka-Puhakka H, Alpasan G, Bearn D, Cema I, Delap E, Dummer P, Goulet JP, Gugushe T, Jeniati E, Jerolimov V, Kotsanos N, Krifka S, Levy G, Neway M, Ogawa T, Saag M, Sidlauskas A, Skaleric U, Vervoon M, White D. Curriculum Structure: principles and strategy. European Journal of Dental Education (2008) 12(Supp1): 74-84.