Baycrest Health Sciences is a global leader in geriatric residential living, healthcare, research, innovation, and education. An academic health sciences centre fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, Baycrest provides an exemplary care experience for aging clients, combined with an extensive clinical training program for students. It has become one of the world’s top research institutes in cognitive neuroscience.
In 1954, the first dental program specially designed for the elderly was established at Baycrest and transformed geriatric dentistry. Alpha Omegans have always played a significant role in this clinic which has continued since that time to focus on catering to the specific dental needs of older and infirm adults.
To support the latest concepts in evidence-based dental care, it was recognised that the clinic must be updated and modernized. This became a dire situation following a flood, requiring the clinic be relocated to temporary quarters upstairs in the hospital. Baycrest approached the Toronto Chapter of the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity for leadership assistance in developing a new clinic, and Alpha Omegans accepted the task with vigour and enthusiasm.
Many hurdles were overcome. After reviewing the existing facility and needs of a new clinic, Baycrest approached the Toronto chapter, and the concept was accepted. Initially, a commitment of $500,000 was approved, and a campaign followed to raise the balance of the funds needed. Alpha Omega is involved in every step of the process: needs assessment, design, equipment, construction, and tendering. Alpha Omega even took part in the selection of a new Chief of the clinic. Retiring Alpha Omegan Dr. Paul Chapnick has devoted many years in the transition to this new facility.
After six years of planning, it is now becoming a reality as construction is nearing completion on the Alpha Omega Dental Centre for Geriatric Care at Baycrest. Scheduled to open in April 2018, this state of the art, not for profit, community clinic will be a treatment facility, training facility, resource, and research facility, for the dental care of our elderly, physically and medically compromised and cognitively impaired population. As part of a multi-service ambulatory out-patient centre, it will serve not only the Baycrest community but will also be available as a referral destination for patients that are difficult to treat in traditional dental offices and local long-term care facilities without dental treatment availability.
The Toronto Chapter raised almost two million dollars from the generous gifts of individual members, corporate sponsors (including TD Bank, Dental Corp, The Heathwood Group and Nobel Biocare) as well as dental societies and study clubs (North Toronto Dental Society, Toronto Crown, and Bridge Study Club). Henry Schein has generously assisted with every detail, from design, equipment and soon, installation. Even the undergraduates of Alpha Omega Pi chapter at the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry, nobly raised funds for this legacy clinic.
The clinic will have four large, specially-equipped operatories, two sophisticated wheelchair lifts, a comprehensive imaging suite, a warm, inviting private patient and consultation space, a central laboratory and a sterilization area.
An opening event at Baycrest is scheduled for Monday, May 14th to unveil this legacy gift to the community.
Article contribution from Brian Chapnick, AO Toronto Member