How we came into Existence
It all started when…
Many community dental clinics have been established throughout the Province, however, it was apparent that there was a significant need in the Fraser Valley region. At one time, there was but one dental clinic with one dental chair functioning on a part-time basis (Peace Arch Volunteer Dental Clinic, White Rock, BC) to serve the community needs of the population of Surrey, Delta and White Rock, estimated to be close to 600,000.
The demand for dental care was tested on December 4th, 2010, when Dr. Harinder Dhanju organized a small group of dedicated dentists and dental team members to provide dental care in memory of their mentor, Dr. Bud Sipko. With limited notice and minimal promotion, the response from the community was overwhelming: over 350 people arrived to receive dental care, requiring that "rain checks" be issued for future appointments. This was an indication that even in a relatively affluent area of Surrey, there was a substantial need for oral health care among those who could not access it through conventional dental care settings.
It became obvious to Dr. Dhanju that this was a problem that was going to require creativity and significant resources in order to have an impact and be sustainable.
Known for its tradition of working with and in communities in BC, the UBC Faculty was eager to consider how it might assist. Soon, concepts were discussed of establishing an outreach clinic of the UBC dental school in Surrey.
Understanding that the support of regional government would help increase awareness of the planned project, Dr. Dhanju and Dean Shuler appealed to the Health Committee, staff and Mayor Dianne Watts of the City of Surrey.
In July, 2010, Surrey City Council, supported by city staff, unanimously endorsed a proposal which would see the creation of a clinic where low-income individuals and families could receive dental care at reduced costs while all levels of dental and dental hygiene students would gain additional clinical experience.