Dr. Dhanju is proud of the work POHS does for the community. “This is the only non-profit providing services like these in the Lower Mainland. Other institutions and professionals should learn from this model and set up such organizations around BC and Canada to give services to the community where it is needed.”
Dr. Harinder Dhanju, well-known dentist and active member of British Columbia Dental Association since 1998, believes that charity begins at home. Since the start of his dental profession, Dr. Dhanju always looked into his own neighbourhood and community to offer his services to those in need. “I saw a lot of people unable to afford procedures and suffering, so I started providing free services at my own clinic,” shares Dr. Dhanju who soon realised that the need for cost-effective dental services was much bigger than he imagined.
This demand for dental care was tested in 2010, when Dr. Dhanju organized a small group of dedicated dentists and dental team members to provide free dental services in his Newton office. The response was overwhelming; over 350 people came in to receive dental care. This was an indication that there was a substantial need for oral health care among those who could not access it through conventional dental care settings. This realization encouraged Dr. Dhanju to found Pacific Oral Health Society (POHS) in 2013.
Affiliated with University of British Columbia (UBC) Dentistry, POHS is dedicated to providing access to inexpensive oral and dental health care for lower income and vulnerable individuals and families in the Fraser Valley region. The non-profit offers a full range of dental services including general and family dentistry; pedodontics (children’s dentistry); periodontics (gum treatment), endodontics (root canal) dental implants and oral surgery. “Patients travel all the way from Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Richmond and Vancouver to seek dental services. We have grown from four to 22 support staff, along with over eight dentists,” says Dr. Dhanju proudly.
Besides helping the disadvantaged, POHS offers foreign dental graduates various courses and a state of the art facility in which to practise in preparation for the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) examinations. The Society also plays a vital role in educating and encouraging the younger generation about the dental profession. “We offer dental graduates and youngsters hands-on experience to understand what a dental profession entails,” explains Dr. Dhanju who is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC’s Dentistry faculty. Additionally, the facility delivers continuing dental education programs to dental professional living in the region.
Dr. Dhanju is continuously educating and motivating the public regarding oral health diseases through dental awareness camps and events. Every year during the fall season Rotary Club assists POHS to organize a free oral cancer screening event where people can get a dental screening done free of cost. “In the past we have saved a few lives,” mentions Dr. Dhanju, “every year we shortlist 20 to 30 people who show signs of cancer in their mouth but they don’t even know it exists. With the help of BC Oral Cancer Prevention Program, we expedite their file and they get the proper treatment so that the cancer does not spread further.”
Dr. Dhanju is proud of the work POHS does for the community. “This is the only non-profit clinic providing services like these in the Lower Mainland. Other institutions and professionals should learn from this model and set up such organizations around BC and Canada to give services to the community where it is needed.”
Pacific Oral Health Centre
Suite 300 - 15850 24 Avenue Surrey BC V3Z 0G1