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Providence's Geriatric Dentistry Program Wins Excellence in Health Promotion Award

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Vancouver, June 24, 2005 —
Providence's geriatric dentistry program has received this year's BC Medical Association's Excellence in Health Promotion Award. Dr. Akber Mithani, Vice President, Medical Affairs received the award on Saturday, June 11 at the formal event on behalf of the team.

The program was recognized for its emphasis on prevention and health promotion for a population that is often neglected or forgotten. The program promotes healthy dental hygiene for long-term care residents, treats their dental care needs, trains young dentists in geriatric dentistry and conducts research.

"Health promotion empowers people to live healthier, better quality lives," says Taj Bhaloo, leader of Providence's Centre for Aging and Health. "An important part of this program is that it encourages residents to develop personal skills and take control of their oral health.

Staff and families have told us stories of residents who are now able to eat solid foods, who experience less pain and have been able to gain some much-needed weight because of this."

Established in 2002 as a joint initiative of Providence Health Care and the UBC Faculty of Dentistry, the program is the first of its kind in Canada. The program was developed in response to a needs assessment that showed that over 70 per cent of residents had significant dental problems--a situation believed to be common in most long-term care facilities.

The program now serves Providence's 800 long-term care residents as well as 300 residents in three other Vancouver Coastal Health residential facilities. The Geriatric Dentistry Program is made possible with support from Vancouver Coastal Health and the St. Vincent's Hospital Foundation.