Oral health

Dr P.E. Petersen

Chief, Oral Health Programme, World Health Organization headquarters, Geneva

On 2 April 2002, Dr Petersen was nominated Chief of the Oral Health Programme at the World Health Organization in Geneva. Prior to this date, Dr Petersen was Professor in Community Dentistry at the University of Copenhagen. He has an academic background encompassing dentistry, public health and sociology, combined with broad international experience. Dr Petersen has worked in community oral health research, enhancement of public health in universities worldwide, health systems development as well as in planning and implementation of community health projects in an extensive number of industrialised countries, countries with economies in transition and in developing countries.

Dr Petersen worked in the WHO Regional Office for Europe as a consultant for several years, as a Director for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Oral Health Programmes and Research, and worked closely with numerous WHO Collaborating Centres in the field of oral health. He has assisted ministries of health, health authorities and health care planners throughout the world.

In addition to Denmark, Dr Petersen has studied in the USA and the U.K. He was elected Dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Copenhagen, and was also Vice-Director of the School of Public Health at the University of Copenhagen. He has an extensive list of scientific publications within epidemiology, health sociology, health systems research, disease prevention and health promotion, and international health.

Within WHO Headquarters the Oral Health Programme is part of the Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, this emphasizes the links between oral health and general chronic disease prevention. Within the department, oral health links with several of its activities, such as integrated NCD prevention networks, health promotion, nutrition, school health and healthy ageing. In addition, oral health links with other departments for HIV/AIDS prevention and water and sanitation.