Janet Clarkson

Janet Clarkson


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Personal profile


Jan Clarkson graduated in dentistry from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1987 and after 10 years at the University of Manchester, she entered the Specialist List for Paediatric Dentistry and joined the Dental Health Services Research Unit at the University of Dundee. Since 1998 she has been the Effective Dental Practice Programme Director, conducting high quality research and promoting the implementation of research evidence in dental primary care. She is a founding member of the Cochrane Oral Health Group and her role as Joint Co-Ordinating Editor has influenced her research activity. Jan is Director of the Scottish Dental Practice-Based Research Network which has undertaken unique trials in healthcare, both in clinical practice and education. As Lead for Clinical Effectiveness, she is responsible for the development, production and dissemination of guidance in priority areas for dentistry in Scotland and her research focuses on the translation of evidence into practice. Jan was recently appointed as an Associate Postgraduate Dental Dean for NHS Education for Scotland.

Jan holds a 20% appointment as a Clinical Professor in Dental Research at the University of Manchester.


  • 2016 Fellowship, Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, Royal College of Surgeon England (Honorary)
  • 2013 Fellowship, Dental Faculty, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow (Election)
  • 2000 Member of the Institute for Learning and Teaching
  • 1998 Fellowship in Dental Surgery Paediatric Dentistry. Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (Examination)
  • 1991 Fellowship in Dental Surgery Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh (Examination)
  • 1991-1994 Doctor of Philosophy. University of Manchester: Development of a Classification and Index of Dental Treatment Experience
  • 1982-1987 Bachelor of Dental Surgery. University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • 1979-1982 Bachelor of Science (Hons) Physiology. University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Scottish Executive/Government Committees

  • 2016 to date Scottish Government Dental Quality Improvement Committee
  • 2009 to date CSO Speciality Leads Group for Scotland representing Oral and Dental
  • 2006 to date Member of National Dental Advisory Committee
  • 2005 to date Co–Founder Scottish Dental.org website as a one stop web portal for dental information and knowledge 
  • 2004 to date Director of Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) – responsible for the programmes development team and member of all guidance development groups accountable intellectually to NDAC and fiscally to NES
  • 2010-2015 CSO Research Strategy Advisory Group
  • 2003-2005 Member of Chief Dental Officers Review of Salaried Services in Dentistry
  • 2001-2004 Member of CRAG Clinical Effectiveness Group for Dentistry
  • 2000-2003 Member of Chief Scientists Office Implementation in Primary Care Group

National Clinical Guideline Development Groups

  • 2016/17 Oral Health Management of Patients at Risk of Medication-related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw
  • 2016/17 Conscious Sedation in Dentistry
  • 2016 SDCEP Drug Prescribing for Dentistry
  • 2016 SDCEP Decontamination in Dentistry 
  • 2016 SDCEP Practice Support Manual
  • 2015 SDCEP Management of Dental Patients Taking Anticoagulants or Antiplatelet Drugs
  • 2014 SDCEP Prevention and Management of Periodontal Disease in Primary Care
  • 2013 SDCEP Management of Acute Dental Problems
  • 2011 SDCEP Bisphosphonates
  • 2011 SDCEP Oral Health Assessment
  • 2012 SDCEP Emergency Dental Care
  • 2012 SDCEP Conscious Sedation in Dentistry Group
  • 2010 SDCEP Managing Childhood Caries
  • 2013 SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network) Guideline Development Group, Prevention and Management of Dental Decay Child Update
  • 2006 UK Childhood Cancer Support Group Oral Care Guideline Development Group
  • 2005 SIGN (Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network) Guideline Development Group, Prevention and Management of Dental Decay in the Pre-School Child
  • 2004 NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) Guideline Development Group, Dental Recall Intervals
  • 2002 SIGN Guideline Development Group, Long-term Effects of Childhood Cancer
  • 2001 Faculty of General Dental Practitioners Guideline Group, Examination and Record Keeping

National Committees

  • 2017 to date Chair of the Award Subcommittee and a member of the 2017-2018 IADR Distinguished Scientist Award Committee
  • 2015 to date Healthcare Improvement Scotland Quality Collaborative 
  • 2014 to date NHS Education for Scotland Executive
  • 2013 to date National Quality in Dentistry Committee
  • 2012 to date National Dental Research Strategy Group
  • 2009 to dateNational Dental Advisory Committee
  • 2009 to dateNES Patient Safety Multi Disciplinary Steering Group
  • 2009 to dateScottish Lead Oral and Dental Speciality Group NIHR
  • 2008-2011Member NES Research Executive
  • 2005-2011Member, Dental Executive, NHS Education for Scotland
  • 2001-2008NES Representative for Royal College Accreditation of Training
  • 2001-2004Scottish Dental Assessment Project
  • 2001Scottish Council for Postgraduate Medicine and Dentistry Dental SHO Record of Progress and Achievement Development Group
  • 1995–1998Trainees in Paediatric Dentistry – SAC Representative

Editor and Editorial Board

  • 2013 to date Editorial Board Community Dental Health
  • 2010 to date Associate Editor Biomed Central Trials
  • 2007 to date Associate Editor Caries Research – clinical trials
  • 2007 to date Implementation Science Biomed Central
  • 2006 to date Editorial Board Member Journal of Dental Research
  • 2004 to date Editorial Board Member, Evidence Based Dentistry Journal
  • 2000-2005 Advisory Board Member, Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
  • 2000-2004 Co-editor, TUITH On-line Journal, Scottish Dental Practice Based Research Network
  • 1996 to date Editor Cochrane Oral Health Group, Cochrane Collaboration and from 2009 – Co- ordinating Editor



I focus my teaching activity to promote the translation of research evidence in clinical practice, support the conduct of high quality research in a primary care setting, and Cochrane systematic reviews. 

I currently contribute lectures to undergraduate teaching in Dundee, on critical appraisal training and evidence based dentistry. Since 2000 I teach all Vocational Dental Trainees in Scotland skills, to appraise research evidence, and consider the implications. These 10 small group interactive courses receive favourable feedback, and it is usually the first time trainees consider when to change clinical practice. I lead a national training programme for Core Trainees in Scotland on quality improvement liaising with NHS and University clinical leads. Each year I accept invitations to deliver approximately 3 continuing professional development courses and 6 lectures across the UK. I have been the external examiner for 5 PhD and 5 MSc theses. Much of my teaching is associated with being a Joint Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Oral Health Group and Director of SDCEP. In addition to supervising PhD and MSc students I have taught research skills to students on several international courses, and the outcome has included several Cochrane reviews. International invitations, approximately 4 a year include speaking to dental, research and policy groups. Public engagement includes performing at the Edinburgh Fringe in the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas in 2015 and 2016. 

Research interests

My research is in dental clinical effectiveness and knowledge translation. I have worked in health services research throughout my career, with a focus on issues relevant to primary care. As Director of DHSRU and SDCEP I undertake and support research that facilitates, informs and promotes health in order to reduce illness. This has involved primary and secondary research methods, principally randomised controlled trials (RCT) and Cochrane systematic reviews. The SDCEP guidance development programme received NICE accreditation in 2016 and at the request of UK Chief Dental Officers is developing guidance for the UK. The related implementation research has attracted international recognition and informed policy changes in education and service.

Much of my research is embedded in service and education delivery. The outcome has informed changes to Scotland’s dental remuneration policy, contributed to NICE and SIGN guideline development, provided evidence of the effect of change to national postgraduate education policy and informed methodological debates in RCT design. I was Principal Investigator of the only implementation trial of dental remuneration and education (CSO/SHEFC), the first cluster versus patient randomised trial (CSO), a UK evaluation of the impact of changes in the dental service contract (ESRC), and the first US funded Cochrane Systematic Reviews (NIDCR). My theoretical interests are in the application of mixed methods to understand professional behaviour and to develop and evaluate interventions designed to enhance health. My current research focuses on the late phase translation of guidance in dentistry. This includes the TRiaDS (Translation Research in a Dental Setting) programme to develop a suite of experimental and quasi experimental methods, to inform service and education policy makers in Scotland, on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of strategies to implement national SDCEP guidance. This programme has recently expanded into community pharmacy and optometry. The recent HTA awards, to evaluate different dental recall strategies whether to restore primary teeth and the effectiveness of scale and polish, reflects my approach to pursuing high quality research in dentistry being an author of the Cochrane reviews, the NICE guideline, and Principal Investigator of the commissioned trials. The National US PBRN are currently discussing replication of these trials in the US system. 

As Joint Chief Investigator of three HTA multi centre HTA trials, I manage research funds of c£10m with collaborators across 10 sites involved with the recruitment of c180 UK dental practices and direct employment of 15 staff. In partnership with NES I manage the research budget for SDCEP which encompasses guidance development, translation research (TRiaDS) and practice based research (SDPBRN) c£600k per year. As Oral and Dental Specialty Lead in NHS Tayside I support and promote patient focused dental research in Scotland and the UK. 

In addition to collaborating with researchers across Schools within the College I work in reciprocal partnership with international researchers in the Universities of Aberdeen, Manchester, Ottawa, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, York, University College London, and GKT. This multidisciplinary collaboration includes statisticians’, implementation scientists, trial methodologists, health psychologists, economists, organisation scientists, statistical modellers, educationalists and clinicians. I have secured sustainable funding for my research group which comprises 14 researchers and 12 administrators, in addition I have 4 research students and 8 PhD students.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


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