Max Moody takes his skills in dentistry across the country and the world to help engage communities through public health outreach opportunities.
As a Griffith Dentistry graduate, Max Moody was well-placed to take his career down a range of paths, but the one that stood out to him the most was an opportunity to help provide dental care to isolated communities through service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
Now a RAAF Dental Officer, Flight Lieutenant Max Moody says his career has allowed him to pursue not just his passion for dentistry and oral health, but other passion areas such as community service, leadership, and building global connections.
“I’m fortunate with RAAF that I am able to gain operational, training and leadership positions that let me explore each of my passion areas here in Australia and overseas,” he says.
“Most recently, I’ve spent time in Afghanistan working at a multinational hospital as part of the NATO mission, Resolute Support.
“I’ve been providing dental services to Coalition forces and the local community, and training other military personnel in dental emergencies.”
A career highlight for Max was his recent work on Exercise Kummundoo where he led a diverse team of RAAF personnel in working closely with Indigenous communities around Broome.
“Through RAAF’s partnership with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Exercise Kummundoo aims to improve healthcare and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in support of the broader Government effort to close the gap,” he says.
“It was a fascinating project to work on – essentially we delivered a culturally-appropriate oral health promotion framework that complemented existing chronic disease management strategies.
“The holistic approach to healthcare allowed me to implement the foundation skills I developed during my time at Griffith, skills like teamwork and understanding the way different health providers like dentists, doctors, and specialists can all work collaboratively to improve the health and wellbeing of a community.
“It also allowed me to pass on my dentistry knowledge to members of the community and enhance mutual cultural understanding. Alongside our RAAF Indigenous Liaison Officers, we were also able to provide leadership training and promote potential career pathways to the community.”
It’s this type of leadership and mentoring Max enjoys the most about his dental career. Less than 10 years since graduating from his undergraduate degree, he’s not only giving back to the local communities he is deployed to, but supporting the next generation of RAAF dental officers through mentoring them clinically and militarily.
“I’m passionate about leadership, coaching and mentoring, as I’ve seen the benefits it can have not just to the individual, but also to the collective team or community,” he says.
“As a dentist, by virtue of being a leader and a clinician, I believe ongoing clinical and professional development is essential – and dentistry certainly is a career with life-long learning opportunities.
“In many of my deployments, public health and oral health promotion has played a large part in my job. I’ve been fortunate to be able to not only deliver dental services to communities in need, but also equip existing staff with the knowledge and skills to succeed in this area when we move on to the next location.
“Leaving is a lot easier when you know there’s someone there who feels confident to maintain the system you’ve helped set up.”
Max’s commitment to mentorship and his own life-long learning is evident in his work and his engagement with people from a broad variety of disciplines and networks, such as his volunteer positions with RAAF and Griffith Honours College Alumni committees.
“Collectively, these opportunities have helped me maximise my contribution to community service, global connection and the development of others,” he says.
“Ultimately, my goal is to create a positive influence on others to help them rise and adapt to future challenges – if I can do that for them, I’ll be doing the same myself.”