Dr Ellen Clark


Ellen Clark Shield

Telehealth - Connecting oral health care in the Far North

The Northland region of New Zealand is the country’s least urbanised area, with the majority of its population living in rural areas. Northland children have some of the highest dental disease rates in the country. They and their whānau regularly face challenges accessing timely care—the Community Oral Health Service (COHS) in Northland relies on patients and whānau travelling (typically long distances) to dental clinics for assessment and treatment.

Teledentistry has considerable benefits for patients, practitioners and the health system. The most notable is improved patient access to assessment and treatment, and delivery of preventive oral care. Teledentistry provides opportunities for the timely diagnosis and treatment of serious oral health issues, thus reducing (or preventing) future hospitalisation; and facilitates patient engagement and education.


Ellen Clark is a Public Health Dentist and is the Clinical Director of the Northland DHB Oral Health Service. She has been involved with research in New Zealand’s Northland region for the last decade and is most interested in reducing oral health inequalities among, and improving the oral health of, children in Northland.

Her epidemiological and clinical research encompasses a wide range of oral conditions, problems and settings, most notably in the fields of child oral health and dental caries. She resides in Mangawhai Heads, with her husband and three children.