University Dental Academy employee awarded for work with homeless

A member of staff from the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy has won an award for her work with homeless people in the city.

Clinical teaching fellow, Miss Janani Sivabalan, won an award for the best Local Oral Health Initiative in the South at the inaugural FMC Clinical Dentistry Awards in recognition of her work setting up and running dental walk-in-clinics for the homeless.

Miss Sivabalan received funding from the Oral and Dental Research Trust and approached homeless charities in the city. She worked with them to develop specialist clinics, offering each patient up to two hours in the dentist’s chair and follow up appointments as needed.

Miss Janani Sivabalan

Miss Janani Sivabalan

The Dental Academy has an established community outreach programme where dental care professional students and staff provide free dental examinations and oral hygiene advice to the community, including local schools and local homeless shelters.

The team at the Dental Academy alongside the University Eye Clinic set up walk-in-clinics to offer free examinations and treatment for local homeless people and continue to see some of these patients today.

Miss Sivabalan said: “I’m extremely grateful and proud for the recognition of this award. The team at the Dental Academy and the Eye Clinic worked tirelessly to bring these clinics to life, and our project has been beneficial for both local homeless people and for the students who delivered dental care.

Establishing the walk-in-clinics service has strengthened local links between the University of Portsmouth and local homeless services and it is the Dental Academy’s goal to keep improving the welfare of our local community.

“Establishing the walk-in-clinics service has strengthened local links between the University of Portsmouth and local homeless services and it is the Dental Academy’s goal to keep improving the welfare of our local community.”

The dental walk-in-clinics ran last year with over 70 staff and student volunteers, including dental nurses, dental hygienists and dental therapists. Fifty patients were seen for dental work, with gum and tooth treatments including scaling, fillings and extractions.

Professor Chris Louca, Director of the University’s Dental Academy, said: “We are extremely proud of Janani’s achievements with the homeless walk-in-clinics and her Clinical Dentistry Award. Her efforts have significantly contributed to our ambition to enhance our outreach based activities for both the well being of our community and education of our students.”

The Dental Academy is an NHS-run dental clinic offering dental hygiene, dental nursing, dental therapy, and dentistry, with students working under the supervision of qualified staff.

Miss Sivabalan collected the award at the Clinical Dentistry Awards ceremony, which took place at the Royal Garden Hotel in London this month.

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