Jim Lund Dental Clinic increases capacity with new government funding

November 16, 2021  — 
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The Jim Lund Clinic is one of the Faculty of Dentistry’s flagship community clinics. Owen Egan

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, announced on November 15, $153,513 in funding to support the Jim Lund Dental Clinic at the Welcome Hall Mission. This McGill University Faculty of Dentistry project aims to improve access to oral health care for Montreal’s low-income population. The clinic has been providing free care to hundreds of people every year through philanthropy for a decade.

“We are immensely proud to be working with the MSSS towards expanding one of our flagship clinics,” says Dean of Dentistry Elham Emami. Experiential learning in community contexts is a foundational part of the Faculty of Dentistry’s dental curriculum and philosophy of care delivery.

“Our partnership with Welcome Hall Mission and other community organizations has at heart a sustainable training mission that contributes to the acquisition of clinical skills in our students, as well as developing socially conscience dentists who will become future leaders in their own communities,” says Emami.

Promoting access to oral health care

The funding comes as part of the implementation of pilot projects for front-line dental clinics, with the goal of promoting access to oral health care for people with low incomes or living in remote areas.

“We believe that dental care is a critical component of basic health care,” says Sam Watts, CEO and Executive Director of the Welcome Hall Mission. “That is why we are committed to providing free dental services to those in need in Montreal. Our long-standing partnership with the McGill Faculty of Dentistry has demonstrated the value of community dentistry, and is made possible through the generosity of donors. This additional funding will allow us to increase the clinic’s capacity in order to reduce wait times and serve more people over the course of the next few months.”

The aim of these pilot projects is to improve access to preventive and curative dental care, to develop the integration of dentistry into the health care system, and to set up service corridors, for example with hospital emergency rooms.

The grant will cover the salary of a dentist and a part-time assistant ($44,000), as well as the purchase of dental equipment, materials and supplies in the amount of $109,513. This additional funding sets the stage for the Jim Lund Dental Clinic’s next phase of expansion later in 2022, where the number of dental operatories will be increased from three to six in order to double its capacity to treat patients.

The clinic is one of five pilot projects announced on November 15 that will provide dental services to approximately 22,000 people living in low-income and remote areas. The projects have a start-up budget of $3 million for the first year, covered by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.

Jim Lund Dental Clinic: A decade of devotion 

Many people in Montreal are unable to visit a dentist because it is not affordable on a tight budget without dental insurance. This sparked the 2011 creation of Montreal’s first permanent, free community dental care clinic in partnership between McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry and Welcome Hall Mission. Named after former Dean James Lund, this clinic continues to be a model of public health dentistry and remains one of the Faculty’s flagship community clinics.

While most patients come directly through the Welcome Hall Mission itself, many are referred from other charitable community organizations across the Island of Montreal. The clinic is open five days a week employing two dentist-professors to both perform treatment themselves and oversee treatments performed by dental students and dental residents from the Faculty of Dentistry.

Despite setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-2021, the Jim Lund Dental Clinic nonetheless provided dental treatments valued at $233,926 to 435 underserved community members at no cost to the patient.

The funding provided by the MSSS will go towards the expansion of the Jim Lund Dental Clinic and will allow us to strengthen our efforts in providing free oral health care to communities in need, and further facilitate access to care for underserved groups.

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Article courtesy of The McGill Reporter

Article courtesy of The McGill Reporter