The Prince Albert community has welcomed the new dental outreach clinic at the downtown University of Saskatchewan campus with open arms.
The clinic opened to the public on Oct. 5, and students are just starting their clinical rotations. It’s part of the college’s inclusive community outreach program, which aims to improve access to care for priority populations in Saskatchewan, and is a key piece of the university’s expansion in Prince Albert.
Oral health care will mostly be provided by licensed dental professionals. The clinic, though, also serves as an outreach site for dental students, with seniors students providing dental care under the supervision of licensed dentists throughout the academic year as part of a clinical rotation.
The clinic is open year-round, providing dental care Monday through Friday.
The space is overseen by the dental college’s Director of Inclusive Community Care, Dr. Amrinderbir Singh.
“There are emerging needs in our community due to health acuity and social inclusion. This clinic, as one of our outreach clinics, aims to improve access to care … in an inclusive and culturally sensitive manner,” Singh said.
“Making this clinic a respectful and welcoming place for patients is our goal. Inclusivity for us means the ongoing participation of people in designing the model of care delivery and services being provided. We want to include the community.”
Patients at the outreach clinics may present with more complex needs, as they’re often without regular, quality dental care.
That’s all part of the training dental students receive.
“Students are learning to deal with complex issues,” Singh said.
‘The purpose of this clinic is also to broaden that understanding of unique public health issues. (and) preparing our students well so they come prepared and willing to provide services in northern and rural areas in Saskatchewan.”
The clinic has a full-time dentist on staff, as well as visiting specialists from the main campus in Saskatoon.
Singh said the clinic has been seeing an increasing number of clients each day, indicating the level of interest in the community. Many of those patients, he said, are referred through partner agencies.
The clinic was originally slated to be opened in September, but its start date was pushed back to accommodate new safety measures put in place as part of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The original plan was also to open the clinic in stages. Instead, thanks to a $1,050,000 donation from dentalcorp, the facility is opening as a finished clinic.
“I’m happy with the expansion of our outreach initiatives, with all the outreach programs in Saskatchewan,” Singh said.
“I’m excited about working towards our vision to improve dental care for community residents. I’m very pleased.”
To learn more about the clinic, visit pa.usask.ca/dental