Dentistry’s community outreach program wins Gies Award for Outstanding Vision

Each year, the Faculty of Dentistry's Service to the Community Program provides free dental care for hundreds of Montreal’s most vulnerable people
The Jim Lund Clinic is an important component of the Faculty of Dentistry’s Community Service Program. Owen Egan

McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry has been named winner of the Award for Outstanding Vision, by the ADEAGies Foundation. The prestigious William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievement, honour individuals and organizations that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership. The William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievement will be presented on March 18, in tandem with the 2019 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in Chicago.

Specifically, the Faculty is being celebrated for its Service to the Community Program, which provides free dental care for hundreds of Montreal’s most vulnerable people through a series of free clinics. One of the unique features the Faculty’s outreach work is that much of the clinical work is done by undergraduate or graduate students under the supervision of faculty members.

“Being recognized by the ADEA reinforces the Faculty’s dedication to encourage its undergraduate and postgraduate students to learn about caring for priority populations through means of active learning, research, community service and fundraising activities,” said Elham Emami, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. “Our Service to the Community Program wouldn’t be possible without the contribution of our wonderful students, staff and faculty members; our community partners; and, of course, our donors who support this work and make it all possible.”

According to a recent op-ed in the Montreal Gazette, millions of Canadians, and approximately 25 per cent of Quebecois, are unable to receive the dental treatment they need, often because they simply can’t afford it. This gap in care can lead to serious oral health problems, which, as anyone who has had even a simple toothache will tell you, can profoundly impact the quality of a person’s life.

McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry has long tackled this pressing need by offering free dental services to Montrealers who are not able to afford or access dental care. These services include:

Student Dental Clinic for Pediatric Dentistry at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH)

This pediatric clinic offers free dental care for children under 10 who are not covered by Medicare. Most of the clinic’s patients are refugee and new immigrant children who do not yet have access to dental care due to financial constraints and lack of insurance. All care is provided by dental students in their last year of training and supervised by MCH staff dentists.

Jim Lund Clinic at the Welcome Mission Hall

This free dental clinic, a partnership between McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry and Welcome Hall Mission, provides preventative and basic dental care to Montrealers who are without dental insurance, including the homeless, low-income families, the elderly, the disabled and recent immigrants and refugees. Established in February 2011, the Jim Lund Clinic is Montreal’s first permanent, free dental care clinic.

Mobile Outreach Clinics

Run by McGill dental students, volunteer dentists and support staff, these mobile clinics provide basic dental care and promotes oral health education to vulnerable populations. From lights and dental chairs to ultra-sonic cleaning units and sterilization equipment, the entire operation literally fits into a truck – and can be unpacked and readied for action in less than an hour. The Clinics work with community groups and agencies to provide free dental care for some 300 people each year.

Summer Clinic

This four-week clinic provides free comprehensive care for children aged 10 to 17 and for physically or intellectually disabled patients who are 10 or older. Patients can have their teeth checked and cleaned and have minor dental work, such fillings and extractions, at no charge. Treatment is provided by fourth-year dental students under the supervision of general practice dentists.

Read the ADEAGies Foundation press release