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Awards - The Goodeve Medal

This award was named in memory of Sir Charles Goodeve, one of the founders and pioneers of civilian Operational Research after World War 2, and a leader for many years of the OR Club and Society.

The Goodeve Medal is awarded in recognition of the most outstanding contribution to the philosophy, theory or practice of OR published in the Journal of the OR Society (JORS) or OR Insight (ORI), within the relevant year.

Citation for the Award of Goodeve Medal 2015

Sally Brailsford, University of Southampton, Dileep De Silva, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka

How many dentists does Sri Lanka need?
Journal of the Operational Research Society  66, 1566–1577

Dileep De Silva, Sally Brailsford and Ruth Kaufman

Against the background of an over-supply of trained dentists in Sri Lanka, the authors developed two System Dynamics models, one to represent the supply of dentists, through training and in practice until retirement and the other to represent the demand for dentists under various scenarios of population change and economic activity over the coming 15 years. The impact of two key decision variables were examined: first, the annual recruitment rate of admitting new students to university, and second, the creation of new state-funded clinical posts. The fact that one of the authors is a qualified dentist engendered trust and a high response rate from participating dentists, resulting in realistic estimates of transition rates from year to year being obtained. Ministry of health officials participated in runs of the models to examine policy options and have based policy on the results. The outcome is that Sri Lankan dentists now have improved career prospects and more than one million people who previously had no access to care now visit a state dentist at least once a year.

This paper describes an outstanding case study with a powerful impact and stresses the importance of involving all stakeholders so as to ensure the collection of accurate data and to ease implementation.