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A donation with great impact

Posted by Kathy MacFarlane on February 15, 2024 in News
DDS Class of 2023

When the DDS Class of 2023 graduated, they wanted to donate to a cause that was meaningful to them. Directing their donation to the North End Community Health Centre (NECHC) was an easy decision to make.

"It is a lifeline of support for the less fortunate, offering hope, dignity, and a chance for a better future." says Dr. Chris Fenwick, co-class president. "We hope that our contribution will help to provide further resources and support so that students and staff can continue to provide quality dental treatment and education to those who need it most."

Dentists can be advocates for these individuals in the community through our dental societies and curricula, adds Fenwick. They can challenge each other and the government to better identify at-risk populations and develop protocols to help ensure that these populations are able to obtain, at a minimum, emergency dental care.

"By working together with classmates and staff to diagnose and treatment plan complex cases as dental students, we are more confident about doing the same after graduation," says Fenwick.

Heartbeat of the clinic
"We would not have a dental clinic at NECHC without the students and support from Dalhousie Dentistry! The students are the heartbeat of the clinic," says Francine Leach, NECHC dental clinic manager.  

The NECHC doesn’t just provide dental care to the patients. It improves access, builds trust, improves their overall health, and has an impact in their lives in ways that are not always evident in the moment.

"When students reflect back on their education, I hope the have good memories of their experiences at NECHC and it inspires them to be involved in improving the overall health of their own community," says Leach.

The gift from the DDS Class of 2023 is "incredibly generous, and speaks to the compassionate, community-minded leaders that these students have become," says Leach.

Gifts such as these allow the NECHC to continually improve the clinic and increase access, she adds, which benefit the patients, the community, and future Dalhousie Dentistry students. The DDS’23 gift will go towards replacing three operator stools and adding a water distiller to the clinic.

"The DDS class of 2023 challenges each other, all community dentists, and all other dental schools to keep their doors open for this demographic," says Fenwick. "Together, we can provide a safe space, free from judgement, to listen and treat the unique needs and goals of these individuals. One patient at a time, if we all play our part, we can uplift the underprivileged community."