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Media release: $1‑million gift creates two dental surgery suites at Dalhousie University
Thursday, October 6, 2022 (Halifax, NS) – Dalhousie University is pleased to announce a visionary gift to the Faculty of Dentistry that will improve care for special needs and pediatric patients, reduce wait times for dental surgeries and enhance training for dentistry students and residents.
The Tze / Chiang Paediatric and Adult Special Needs Clinic was made possible through a $1-million gift from Dr. Theresa Chiang (BSc’61, DDS’65, MSc) in memory of her late husband, Dr. Wah Jun Tze (BSc, MD’65, FRCP, OC). The couple, who met as students at Dalhousie, shared a passion for improving health outcomes for children and vulnerable populations.
More than 1,000 special needs patients across Nova Scotia are waiting for oral health care that requires specialized facilities to safely deliver sedation or general anesthesia. Dr. Chiang’s gift will equip two dental surgical suites with the specialized equipment needed, helping to increase capacity and reduce wait times for patients who are experiencing pain and discomfort.
“Through Dr. Chiang’s work as a pediatric and special needs dentist and the incredible efforts she and Dr. Tze took to improve the health of children and those with special needs, she knows how urgently clinics like these are needed everywhere,” said Dr. Ben Davis, Dean of the Dalhousie Faculty of Dentistry. “Providing excellent care to our patients and training our students to be capable and compassionate oral health-care providers is what this Faculty is all about. This generous gift will enable us to do more of both and we are so grateful Dr. Chiang approached Dalhousie with her vision.”
While patients and families will have better and more timely access to advanced care, undergraduate and graduate students in the Faculty of Dentistry will also benefit from increased learning and research opportunities.
“Our patients and their families deal with the uncertainty of wait times for treatment and the extra burden of finding oral health care for their young adult children after we can no longer see them,” said Dr. Evan Shaw, Director of Dalhousie’s pediatric dentistry general practice residency program and a pediatric dentist at the IWK Health Centre. “Through this new clinic, more dentistry students will have the opportunity to provide care for and learn from these patients early in their education. When they graduate, our students will have the experience and confidence to bring these patients into their practices for routine and preventive care, ultimately reducing the need for more invasive care in the future.”
Dr. Theresa Chiang has practised, taught, lectured and published widely on pediatric dentistry and child health, particularly on the treatment of cleft palate and child nutrition. Dr. Chiang and Dr. Tze, who was a pediatric physician, co-founded the Canada China Health Foundation and the Global Child Health Society. Their work has led to better access to health care for many children in underserved areas of China and created global networks for the exchange of technology, equipment, personnel, and knowledge. Dr. Chiang’s gift to Dalhousie is the next step in fulfilling her vision to see more children treated and more dentists with training to provide care for kids with oral health care needs.
Dr. Chiang, who was involved with a similar dental program for children in Vancouver, highlighted the collaboration of many partners to make the clinic possible.
“I can see success of this program at Dalhousie because of the multi-level support Dean Davis was able to obtain – the optimal outcome of this program requires the coordination of pediatric dentistry, anesthesiology, hospital interdepartmental support, adequate facilities and equipment, as well as support from government and the provincial dental society,” she said, adding that she hoped to expand this kind of program to other provinces in the future.
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