1. Australian Dental Health Foundation
The Australian Dental Health Foundation (ADHF) is a registered charity whose vision is to address the inequality between Australians who can access dental care, and those who can’t. We do this through the coordinated matching of volunteer dental practitioners with patients from registered charities and not-for-profit organisations targeting: domestic violence, homelessness, mental health, addiction, long-term injury or illness, and poverty. Amelia Hogan, our Queensland State Coordinator is an experienced Social Worker who has worked in Australia and Ireland, and is greatly enjoying placing patients with generous volunteers across the state.
Get involved with ADHF
Please contact Amelia Hogan on [email protected] or 0417 801 792 for further information.
2. Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA)
Tzu Chi Foundation is an international humanitarian and non-governmental organisation established in Taiwan in 1966. In 2002, Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) was started in Brisbane by a small group of young dentists, led by Dr Alice Lu, who wanted to bring dental care to those that could not access the public system readily. They identified the following groups as the most in need:
- Asylum seekers whom do not possess official refugee status
- Residents of remote communities
- Those experiencing homelessness
In 2004, in partnership with Queensland Health and various refugee organisations, the first Refugee Dental Fair was held at QEII Hospital and later became a biannual event. In 2007, TIMA organised the first Medical and Dental Fair in Tara, a small town located 300 kilometres west of Brisbane. The local community hall is transformed into treatment rooms for medical and allied health services including dentistry. One of the highlights at all TIMA dental fairs is the endless supply of delicious meals and snacks to sustain you through a busy and rewarding experience.
Inclusive Health Clinic
2011 marked the beginning of a long-term partnership between TIMA and Micah Projects (supporting those that are homeless or at risk of being homeless). In 2017, they jointly opened the Inclusive Health & Wellbeing Hub in South Brisbane which operates Monday to Friday with one fitted dental surgery. It’s operated by a registered charity and not-for-profit organisation.
Get involved with TIMA
TIMA is always looking for dentists and assistants to volunteer their skills. Or you can make a vital contribution through donating consumables and equipment. Please email [email protected] if you are interested in helping.
3. Clinics For Kids
Clinics For Kids was established as a response to the critical need for quality healthcare for children living in under-served rural and remote communities globally. In 2021, Ryan Kungl, Founder and Director, and his team continue to demonstrate a new standard in student led collaboration in the charitable health space by expanding their services to cater for adults.
In partnership with the Griffith University Dental Clinic and local homeless service provider partners; the ‘Clinics For Communities’ program aims to provide emergency dental treatment to people experiencing homelessness over three non-consecutive clinic days in addition to coordinating future access to dental treatment through the public system. The first clinic took place on April 7, 2021 and was a complete success with 23 patients receiving emergency dental care.
This program would not have been possible without generous funding provided for by the Pierre Fauchard Academy and support from Griffith University staff.
Get involved with Clinics for Kids
Please email [email protected] to find out how you can get involved.
4. Cherbourg Dental Clinic
According to the World Health Organisation, half of the world still lacks coverage for the most essential health services. Within Australia, this includes remote and rural areas which are often occupied by Indigenous Australians.
To make dental care more accessible for regional Australians, Griffith University dental students, under the supervision of a qualified dentist, have been providing dental treatment to the people living in the Indigenous community of Cherbourg, a regional town 170km north-west of Brisbane.
This initiative was run as a pilot study in 2010 by a group of Griffith University dental students and the project solidified in 2011 with David Baker and Kylie Arnot establishing a Memorandum of Understanding with the local health service in which the clinic runs. It’s currently run as the dental arm of Hope4Health, a non-profit organisation and registered charity founded by Griffith University students in 2006.
This year the team is led by final year dental students Emma Parsons, Iaitdaar Mia and Ryan Kungl. Along with their supervising dentist, Dr Robert Foster, the volunteer team of students will deliver free dental treatment in the town from June 21-25 and for a week in November 2021.
Get involved with Cherbourg Dental Clinic
Please email [email protected] for more information on how you can help.
NEW 5. Esesson Foundation
Esesson Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that provides free health care for the underprivileged communities within Australia and internationally.
They have initiated an oral health program on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane that addresses the oral health needs of underprivileged children. These children are identified through Metro Health as having extended waitlists or attending special needs schools that have limited access to regular oral health care. Many of these are children are refugees, special needs children or children from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Esesson Foundation’s CEO, Dr Ajitha Naidu Sugnanam, has been managing the initiative providing Free Dental Care for Underprivileged Children throughout 2021. Ms Olan Hartley, Operations Manager, is responsible for all day to day operations required for the program's success.
The program is fundamentally reliant on monetary donations, consumable donations, volunteer dentists, volunteers (assistants, university students) and generous community private practices. The volunteers giving their time provide treatment, oral hygiene instruction/preventative education, clinically assist in the operating surgery, as well as engage with children through activities while they wait for treatment.
The program which has provided a very positive first dental experience for many of these children has had clinic days run at private practices including at Jindalee, Mudgeeraba and Biggera Waters in 2021.
Get involved with Esesson Foundation
Please email Olan Hartley on [email protected] for more information on how you can get involved.
Contact the ADAQ Volunteering in Dentistry Committee
If you would like to share your own dental volunteering experiences, promote opportunities for volunteering and/or interested in finding out more information, please email Miriah Sawrey.
What Volunteers Say
I believe that those in the community privileged enough to be able to help others in need have a duty to do so. I have found that not only does this benefit the underprivileged member, but also provides the person volunteering with an indescribable feeling of warmth. Moreover, the volunteer gains knowledge related to the field they are volunteering in, for example I have personally gained a substantial amount of clinical knowledge from being part of a team treating members of the community without access to dental services. With volunteering benefitting all involved, I absolutely recommend others to get involved in any volunteering opportunity they can. - Lachlan Hearn, 3rd year dental student at Griffith University
I fell into dental volunteering with an invitation to help out the local Tzu Chi organisation at their dental clinic as a dental assistant. Over the past few years of my undergraduate degree, I’ve also been lucky to be involved with promoting oral health at events such as Homeless Connect and for children in the rural town of Cherbourg. I’ve found that volunteering makes me feel extremely grateful for the privileges I have and I enjoy going out into the community to spread awareness about the importance of oral health. I would absolutely recommend others to get involved with volunteering if they can, even if it’s only a small amount of time! My biggest tip would be to start small and stay enthusiastic because you can really start to see the difference it makes in people’s lives. - Lisa Zhu, 4th year dental student at University of Qld
In my third year of dental school in 2018, I found out about the Tzu-Chi Foundation. This organisation provided free services, including dental services, to vulnerable people in the community such as refugees and people experiencing homelessness. Since then, I have been volunteering as a dental assistant and after graduation, as a dentist, at the Inclusive Health Clinic in South Brisbane and at dental fairs such as the Toowoomba Dental Fair and the Tara Dental Fair. It felt rewarding being able to use my skills to be part of this great service and assist people in need and I feel grateful having met many lovely people along the way. The amazing vegetarian food provided is always a big bonus and something to look forward to after a day of hard work. - Dr Deborah Du, Dentist
I first started volunteering as a dental student. At the time I saw it as a chance to gain experience in rural dentistry, as well as apply skills and knowledge learnt at university. Now, as an experienced dentist, it is a great feeling to be able to use my skills to give back to the community. Working to help particularly disadvantaged sections of the community such as refugees, people experiencing homelessness and survivors of domestic violence is simultaneously fulfilling and humbling. I would most definitely recommend the experience as it is beneficial for all involved. - Dr William Wang, Dentist
I volunteer because it’s incredible being in a position to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. It makes me feel connected to my community and truly grateful. - Dr Norah Ayad, 2020 ADAQ President