Free permanent clinic will serve underprivileged groups in Montreal
An innovative partnership between McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry and Welcome Hall Mission (WHM) will make it possible for low-income families and the homeless to get free basic dental care.
The new Jim Lund Dental Clinic, housed at WHM, in Montreal’s St. Henri neighbourhood, was officially opened today in the presence of Quebec Health Minister Dr. Yves Bolduc, McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum, as well as Welcome Hall Mission’s Board Chairman Brian Perron. The clinic will serve the elderly, the disabled and recent immigrants and refugees in addition to low-income families and the homeless – all who turn to WHM for assistance.
“I applaud McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry for this much-needed service,” said Cyril Morgan, CEO and Executive Director of Welcome Hall Mission, one of Montreal’s oldest and largest outreach organizations. “Now, we know we’ve done our job right when someone turns their life around and they can really smile again.”
The new permanent clinic builds on the Faculty of Dentistry’s approach to teaching through service in the community, which includes a mobile clinic, low-cost services at the Montreal General Hospital and pediatric dental care at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
“There are many well-recognized barriers to accessing dental care – financial, geographic, physical and cultural, for example,” said Dr. Paul Allison, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry. “When I became Dean in 2008, I wanted to expand upon our existing outreach programs and create permanent satellite clinics to better serve those who would otherwise fall through the cracks.”
The Jim Lund Dental Clinic is open three days a week and serves about 12 patients by referral per week. McGill dental students and residents provide the treatment, overseen by McGill faculty, while WHM provides the space, a secretary and a dental assistant.
The clinic is named in memory of Dr. Jim Lund, McGill’s long-time Dean of Dentistry, who died suddenly in December 2009. Lund was a passionate advocate of quality dental care for all members of society, and it was during his tenure that the Faculty’s Outreach Program was established.
The greater Montreal community has embraced efforts by McGill and WHM to aid the city’s less-fortunate citizens. Welcome Hall Mission’s supporters include Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. Private donors to McGill – including the R. Howard Webster Foundation, the George Hogg Family Foundation, and A-dec, a dental firm – ensured the clinic’s construction and paid for some of its start-up costs. Funds will continue to be sought for the clinic’s ongoing operational expenses. All donations to the Jim Lund Dental Clinic add to the momentum of Campaign McGill: History in the Making.
For more information on Campaign McGill, please visit http://www.mcgill.ca/campaign/
For more information about the Faculty of Dentistry’s community outreach, watch this video: http://www.mcgill.ca/community/quebec/dentistry-outreach
About Welcome Hall Mission
Welcome Hall Mission is a non-profit organization that has been fighting homelessness, poverty, social exclusion and hunger in Montreal since 1892. We operate the city’s largest food bank, one of its largest men’s shelters and run a live-in rehabilitation program. We offer counseling and hot meals to over 100 street youth everyday, and provide activities and camps for over 6,000 children in underprivileged neighbourhoods. For more information on WHM, visit http://www.welcomehallmission.com