Ottawa Mission Dental Clinic
How it all Started
Dr. Harle is the founder and current Program Manager of the Ottawa Mission Dental Clinic, a faith-based, volunteer-driven, no-cost, oral health promotion and outreach service which began in 2007. With over 100 active chairside helpers, the Ottawa Mission now runs Canada’s largest volunteer dental clinic for the poor and homeless, having donated over $1.7 million in free dentistry. Unlike regular healthcare, people without money cannot afford dentistry, and oftentimes have to suffer the pains that come with untreated conditions. And when it comes to gaining skills or finding employment, having missing teeth can be a great hindrance. The services at the dental clinic give the homeless people of Ottawa hope and a newfound reason to smile.
Dr. Harle started the organization after realizing his mission work overseas could also be applied to the less fortunate right here in Ottawa.
“If I can travel halfway across the world, surely I can travel halfway across the city”, he said.
And so, the Ottawa Mission Dental Clinic has become a huge success, and Dr. Harle has (expectantly) earned himself quite the reputation in the homeless community. In fact, he has become so well-liked by his patients that they’ve been known to plug his parking meter when it runs out. To learn more about what we do and why check out our website: www.homelessdentalclinic.com
Goals & Objectives of the Ottawa Mission Dental Clinic
For Homeless Clients.
- To improve the dental health status of Ottawa’s inner-city impoverished homeless community by offering readily accessible, timely, no-cost, emergency and basic level preventive, restorative and prosthetic dental services in the name of Christ.
- To increase our “street friends” acceptance and compliance with treatment thereby improving their dental health status so as to make a positive impact on their lives.
For Dental Professionals.
- To cultivate sensitivity, compassion and comfort in interaction with the poor and homeless population by offering volunteer opportunities for them to become directly involved in the dental care of those who could not otherwise afford treatment.
- To educate and inform clinicians about the harshness and indignities of street life and its causes, as they help the homeless face their challenging lives.
- To create emotional experiences that connect supporters to our core values of compassion, empathy, grace and human dignity.
- To inspire dental volunteers to be more able and compassionate health care providers for any population they choose to serve.
For The Community.
- To encourage the founding of new homeless dental care clinics in communities across Canada by sharing best practices and establishing mentoring relationships with coordinators at start-up centers, and
- To nurture a national network of dental clinics dedicated to serving itinerant clientele to help bridge the divide between:
- What individual communities are doing through direct service delivery at the local grass-roots in responding to the need for adequate access to dental care for the poor and homeless.
- The root-ills that sustain the inequality in access to care that make these clinics necessary.
We are lucky to have had such great support from Ottawa’s dental professions already, but we are always looking for new hands to lend their support in helping the poor and homeless of Ottawa.
If you work in the dental profession and share our passion for helping others, please submit an application form here.
Thank you in advance for taking the time and for your generous support to our community.