Associate Professor & Head of Department, Community Dentistry, School of Oral Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand
Attended: 
SDL-4 (2010)

Professor Yengopal qualified as a dentist at the University of the Western Cape in 1990. He did his specialist training in Community Dentistry at the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently Head of Community Dentistry at the University of the Witwatersrand, School of Oral Health Sciences, in Johannesburg, South Africa. His field of interest is evidence based health care and he has been fortunate to attend training programs at the universities of Liverpool, Manchester, and the International Cochrane Collaboration. He has published extensively on this topic and has been invited to speak both at local and international locations.

There are 3 focus areas that form the basis of his research interests - child oral health; systematic reviews of clinical interventions/techniques in dentistry and oral HIV/AIDS. In this regard, his PhD study (in progress) forms part of an international collaborative multicentre trial that investigates the anthropometric, developmental and velocity of weight gains in children with severe tooth decay that have immediate treatment versus those that have to wait for dental care. 

Systematic reviews of clinical trials are rated as the highest form of evidence one can use to make clinical decisions or changes in policy. His work with Dr Steffen Mickenautsch is quoted by international bodies such as the American Dental Association and the Forsyth Institute at Harvard which develop policy and clinical guidelines in the dental field.  Their systematic reviews are now registered with the International Prospective Register for Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) and they are the first in dentistry to use new scientific tools such as The Ottawa method which was developed in order to identify qualitative and quantitative signals for indicating the need to update a systematic review. His research focus on HIV relates to the effects of the oral manifestations of HIV/AIDS on the quality of life of infected patients.

Two recommendations to individuals entering the dental profession:

1. Have a passion to serve the interests of the community.
2. Be gentle, have a kind word for your patient and always respect the power you have over your patient.