GBC was recognized for contributions to Caribbean heritage through the Nine Miles of Smiles program
George Brown College (GBC) dental students are providing bigger and brighter smiles to those in marginalized communities and in developing countries through the Nine Miles of Smiles organization.
“Kim Daley, the president of this charitable organization had approached our school to partner with her and her team. Kim is an alumni of GBC and a dental hygienist,” said Lisa Rogers, chair of the school of dental health, via email. “Kim’s goals and our goals were a good match in providing care to marginalized populations, allowing our students opportunities to work in outreach communities to deliver oral health care.”
Since the organization’s founding in 2005, their goals have been to promote and further dental, medical and allied health care to those in need and to inform Canadian health care providers about the need for their skills in developing countries. They also aim to offer educational and training workshops to parents, teachers and health-care professionals in those countries, according to the Nine Miles of Smiles website.
“Over the past three years we entered into a formal partnership. The goal of the partnership for our school is to provide an inter-professional opportunity whereby our students, from various dental programs, can work together delivering oral health care and learn more about what each other does in their profession,” says Rogers, adding that this year students from four different programs participated: denturism, dental technology, dental hygiene and restorative dental hygiene.
This year eight students and two faculty attended the program and were given opportunities to deliver oral hygiene services and oral health education, participate in restorative dentistry, assess clients for dentures and fabricate those dentures. According to Rogers, not only was this a gratifying experience for their clients, but was appreciated as well.
GBC has played an influential role in education and health care contributing to the Caribbean heritage since its founding in 1967, and for that, the college was an honouree for the 2015 Chancellor’s award, which was presented at the Sixth Annual University of the West Indies Benefit Gala on March 28.
“This award acknowledges the hard work that our students and faculty and the agencies we partner with do abroad. It cultivates a continued dialogue to expand
field opportunities internationally,” said Rogers. “It recognizes the importance of volunteerism and builds life-long professionals who will continue to seek volunteer opportunities to help others. It inspires future faculty and students.”
Every year students from the school of dental health are able to apply and participate, and while there are students who don’t attend due to limited space, they are still able to “assist and learn from their peers who do attend, and apply what they have learned to other outreach opportunities locally,” said Rogers.