UQ teaching brightens smiles

The professional and personal commitment of UQ Dental teachers to helping others is inspiring their students to give back to society, by providing free dental care to disadvantaged people in Brisbane.

The Head of Dentistry Professor Pauline Ford, who has spent much of her professional life researching and improving dental care for the disadvantaged, said students had the opportunity to work with those in need to improve their quality of life.

“Our students are committed to providing healthcare to those who require it most, and this opportunity offers not only skills training but also contributing to the social good,” she said. 

The students will contribute to the treatment of an extra 8000 public patients as part of a UQ-Queensland Government partnership.

UQ Dentistry also partners with Ozcare to provide free dental care to men in South Brisbane hostels, and last year students volunteered their time and skills at the inaugural Dental Rescue Week for homeless youth.

The Week was the inspiration of Dentistry researcher and oral health therapist Nicole Cockburn who wanted to help the less fortunate because of the values she acquired at home, school and at UQ by working with Professor Ford.

“Working with her has opened my eyes to the possibilities of my own career,” Ms Cockburn said.

“Professor Ford’s work is focused on disadvantaged groups, those with special needs, the oral health of people with multiple sclerosis, mental illness and aged care residents and how their needs could be better met.”

The opportunities provided to students through volunteer programs such as this empower them to give back to the community while learning valuable practical skills. 

If you would like to contribute to transformative teaching programs like this, that provide students with the skills and empathy to become better health professionals, please considering making a donation today. 

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