Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/90684
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Type: Journal article
Title: The 'global interconnectedness' of dentist migration: a qualitative study of the life-stories of international dental graduates in Australia
Author: Balasubramanian, M.
Brennan, D.
Spencer, A.
Short, S.
Citation: Health Policy and Planning, 2015; 30(4):442-450
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 0268-1080
1460-2237
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Madhan Balasubramanian, David S Brennan, A John Spencer and Stephanie D Short
Abstract: The migration of dentists is a major challenge contributing to the oral health system crisis in many countries. This paper explores the origins of the dentist migration problem through a study on international dental graduates, who had migrated to Australia. Life-stories of 49 international dental graduates from 22 countries were analysed in order to discern significant themes and patterns. We focused on their home country experience, including stories on early life and career choice; dental student life; professional life; social and political life; travels; and coming to Australia. Our participants exhibited a commitment to excellence in earlier stages of life and had cultivated a desire to learn more and be involved with the latest technology. Dentists from low- and middle-income countries were also disappointed by the lack of opportunity and were unhappy with the local ethos. Some pointed towards political unrest. Interestingly, participants also carried prior travel learnings and unforgettable memories contributing to their migration. Family members and peers had also influenced participants. These considerations were brought together in four themes explaining the desire to migrate: 'Being good at something', 'Feelings of being let down', 'A novel experience' and 'Influenced by someone'. Even if one of these four themes dominated the narrative, we found that more than one theme, however, coexisted for most participants. We refer to this worldview as 'Global interconnectedness', and identify the development of migration desire as a historical process, stimulated by a priori knowledge (and interactions) of people, place and things. This qualitative study has enriched our understanding on the complexity of the dental migration experience. It supports efforts to achieve greater technical co-operation in issues such as dental education, workforce surveillance and oral health service planning within the context of ongoing global efforts on health professional migration by the World Health Organization and member states.
Keywords: Globalization; health planning; health professionals; international health policy; migration; qualitative research
Description: Advanced Access publication 10 May 2014
Rights: © The Author 2014; All rights reserved
RMID: 0030010871
DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czu032
Appears in Collections:Dentistry publications

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