Our People in WAMark Page - Perth
After ten years in the Royal Australian Navy, Dental Officer Mark Page has finally had the opportunity to experience life at sea.
Mark's father, David, spent time in the Royal Air Force and the Australian Army Reserves so Mark thought he would join the Navy to see how they did things.
After completing Year 12 at Perth Modern School, Mark studied for his Bachelor of Dental Science at the University of Western Australia. With six months left at University, Mark signed up to the Navy's Undergraduate Scheme which paid for his remaining study.
Lieutenant Commander Mark Page is now posted to HMAS Cerberus, the Navy's main training base as the Senior Dental Officer. He not only sees patients but is also the Australian Defence Force Senior Dental Advisor for the Regional Health Service in Victoria and Tasmania.
"I really like my job as I don’t have to be a dentist 100% of the time," Mark said.
"I get to do a whole lot of things, including going to sea."
Mark is currently at sea for the first time in his career, using his dental skills in the Pacific Islands as a member of the Exercise Pacific Partnership 2011 (PP11) team.
Pacific Partnership is an annual Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA) program that aims to strengthen alliances and promote multilateral security cooperation.
Now in its seventh year, partner nations continue their mission to improve the lives of people in the Pacific region, as well as improve the capacities of nations and organisations to respond to disasters through recurring opportunities for cooperation and training.
Mark has been working in remote villages in the countries of East Timor and the Federated States of Micronesia, giving dental care to people who don't often have access to dentists. Some of the villages are so remote that a helicopter is used to transport PP11 personnel there.
"Coming back from Iliomar, a small village in East Timor, the helicopter pilots gave us a good ride over the hills," Mark said.
"We had the doors back and the views were fantastic. It’s not something a dentist normally gets to do."When Mark returns to Australia he plans to enjoy the comforts of home, including having more space than he currently enjoys on the ship.