Faculty member receives MBE for volunteer dentistry

News Published: 
21 January 2021


Congratulations to Faculty member Kenneth Neil Macdonald, who has received an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours for voluntary service to dentistry and dental training abroad.


Kenneth teaching dental assistants in Phnom Penh


Originally from Ardrossan in Ayrshire, Kenneth graduated from the University of Glasgow Dental School in 1974, and spent eight years in the Royal Army Dental Corps before moving to the Isle of Lewis.

There he established Bayhead Dental Practice, later Stornoway Dental Centre, which he owned and ran for thirty-three years. For over thirty of these, he was Secretary of the Western Isles GP sub-committee, and he served three terms as Chair of the Western Isles Area Dental Committee, briefly chaired the North of Scotland Branch of the British Dental Association, and sat on the National Dental Advisory Committee and Clinical Standards Board Dental Committee.

Kenneth was awarded FGDP(UK)’s Diploma in General Dental Practice in 1994, and for almost ten years was an Audit Facilitator for the Scottish Clinical Audit Group and Auditor for the Dental Nurse Training Advisory Service. He also served many years as an Executive Member of the National Examining Board for Dental Nurses, including two years as Chair, and was a member of its Qualification Council. Later he spent three years as Chief Examiner in Dental Nursing for City & Guilds, and twelve years in the same role for the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

He has also been a Rotarian for over thirty-five years, and it was through this commitment that he first tried out voluntary work abroad in February 2009, sponsored by a Rotary Club in Colorado to work in a clinic in Phnom Penh looking for volunteer dentists. The three-week experience so affected him that he returned twice that same year, has since returned to Cambodia twenty times, and retired from UK practice in 2014 to focus on his voluntary work.

He volunteers for the One-2-One charity, which provides fixed and mobile medical and dental care to orphanages, slums, poor rural areas and prisons. He manages two trips a year, each of 3-4 weeks, and provides daily support year-round by email and Skype. As well as clinical dental work, he helps organise the clinics, writes procedures and audit checklists, and manages the ordering of materials and equipment when donations are received.

Also providing dental assistant training, his teaching notes have been translated into Khmer and are printed as a book for those attending his one week intensive advanced dental assistant course, which has now taught over 200 dental assistants.

He has also volunteered several times in Myanmar, supporting the local One-2-One dental service by helping organise their outreach programme to poor areas, teaching dentists and dental assistants, and training volunteers to teach at the dental therapy school in East Timor.

In 2015 Kenneth was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual conference of Scottish Local Dental Committees.