Professor Trevor Burke
Professor Trevor Burke

Professor Trevor Burke - a farewell by Professor Philip Lumley 

The name Trevor Burke always preceded him, a man of great energy who made an outstanding contribution to dental education and research, in particular he selflessly promoted and pioneered the education and development of general dental practitioners around the world.   

I first met Trevor over thirty years ago, he had been head hunted to come to Birmingham from Manchester as a Chair in Conservative Dentistry, we met over lunch, on that occasion Trevor opted to move to Glasgow before eventually coming to Birmingham just over twenty years ago as a Professor of Primary Dental Care.  

Trevor contributed to both postgraduate and undergraduate teaching, he launched the Masters in General Dental Practice with Peter Marquis. The course always had a steady core of students and then evolved into AGDP and subsequently the distance learning version guided of course by Giles Perryer navigating him through the complexities of University administration, moving to the on-line platform resulted in almost a tripling of the student intake.  

Trevor set up the ground floor Primary Care links for students in the old dental hospital giving them increased experience of emergency and urgency management of dental pain and problems. He also established a Special Study Module in Adult Outreach for 8 - 10 students which eventually grew into the Adult Outreach course that exists today for all dental students.  

Trevor well known as the Editor of Dental Update, has always been a prolific writer and researcher, working long into the evening hours at his desk hammering away at the computer keyboard writing his papers.  One piece of Trevor’s work in particular, with Steve Lucarotti and others interrogating the Dental Practice Board database was seminal. This work investigated the survival of restorations, root fillings, crowns, bridges that had been placed under the old dental contract.  It demonstrated that survival was better than many had suggested.

Finally Trevor the clinician, Trevor “walked the walk”, his experience in General Dental Practice and in the Hospital and University environment gave him a unique insight and connection across the dental profession. He had a deep understanding of the issues and pressures of working in the general dental services.  

Trevor’s experience in practice, his knowledge of general dental practitioners, his research relevant to general practice and his devotion to the further education of general dental practitioners, underpinned his skill of being able to treatment plan a patient with treatment they were pleased to receive and that their dentist could deliver within the General Dental Services.  He bridged that gap and that bridge lasted for decades. 

Thank you Trevor for all you have contributed to the dental profession, the Dental School and the University of Birmingham, we wish you a long, happy and healthy retirement.