The Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia has received an in-kind gift of $8 million from the Ho Chi Minh City National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology to create an oral health research centre.
Currently, in Vietnam, about one in 500 babies is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate; 80 per cent of children suffer severe tooth decay, and oral cancer occurs frequently with often fatal outcomes.
The UBC Dentistry-Vietnam Oral Health Research Centre will provide a dynamic hub for education, research and knowledge transfer in Southeast Asia to help address these challenges. The 1,200 square metre [12,916 sq. ft.] facility will be housed on the fourth floor of the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology. The Centre will focus on research areas that include oral cancer, dental caries and craniofacial birth defects.
“Through collaborative research, we aim to advance oral-facial health and scientific knowledge across international boundaries,” says Dr. Charles Shuler, dean of the Faculty of Dentistry.
The Centre will facilitate transfer of knowledge to local and international researchers to raise the baseline of oral health care in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, increasing the local capacity to treat the most pressing oral health issues.
“Our hospital is proud of cooperating with UBC,” says Dr. Lam Hoai Phuong, director, of the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology. “It is a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge between visiting dentistry residents, UBC faculty, Vietnamese scholars, dental students and general dentists,”
“This partnership is a game changer for global health research and education,” says Dr. Chris Zed, associate dean of strategic and external affairs. “The UBC Dentistry-Vietnam Oral Health Research Centre will increase the quality and impact of new discoveries and scholarship.”
The Faculty of Dentistry has a long-standing history and commitment to Vietnam. Over the past decade, faculty members, general practice residents and dental students have rotated to Ho Chi Minh City to provide patient treatment and oral health education. They have treated a broad spectrum of diseases not typically seen in British Columbia – experience that subsequently benefits Canada’s multicultural dental health population.
This gift – the Faculty of Dentistry’s largest to date – forms part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign, the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history. The goals are to raise $1.5 billion for students, research and community engagement, and to double the number of alumni involved annually in the life of the university by 2015.