Adopt A School Program

Adopt A School Program


To advance oral health care in challenged communities in the Lower Mainland through outstanding education, research, and community service.

Executive Summary and Vision

UBC’s Faculty of Dentistry is committed to making a difference in the oral health and education for the children at East Vancouver’s Florence Nightingale Elementary School, which was identified by Vancouver Coastal Health as a high risk area for oral disease.

The Adopt a School Program will bring a community service-learning model to the school through the establishment of an operational on-site dental clinic. The facility will focus on the K-7 age group, but ultimately provide extended treatment plans for the children’s families as well.

Clinic space has been provided by the Vancouver School Board and the program has been fully operational since September 2011.

This program enables UBC to provide unique educational opportunities for school kids, expand supportive community services, and provide a forum for innovative research. Additionally, UBC dental students will have the opportunity to deepen their clinical experience while providing a sustainable service to people in great need.

The program is comprised of three important components.

1. Service:

To provide comprehensive oral health care and education to children identified as high risk and to determine comprehensive treatment plans.  The clinic will be open twice weekly with sessions on weekdays and weekends.

2. Education:

Students: The goals and objectives for the Florence Nightingale students are to improve self-esteem and provide a positive introduction to dental healthcare professionals. In addition, sustainable oral health supports overall wellness, which will enable students to improve their concentration levels in class and become better learners. The program also provides opportunities to discuss wellness themes, including how a healthy diet can decrease childhood obesity,  provide energy for an active, energetic youth, and decrease absenteeism.

Families: The goals and objectives for families are to understand, embrace, and practice good oral habits to improve the  health of  children. The program will provide dental supplies, screening for the needs of family members, and treatment to improve the quality of their lives. Assistance will be provided for coordinating available dental benefits and ongoing follow ups will encourage continued learning and cooperation.

Vancouver School Board (VSB) Staff: The goals and objectives for VSB staff include improved satisfaction as  students learn and participate in a positive manner in class. Better student concentration levels will allow educators to expand and enhance their teaching styles as fewer students demand extra time and attention.

Resident Dentists: The goals and objectives for Resident Dentists include gaining a greater understanding of the community and learning how to serve in a  professional and caring manner. They will learn to evaluate a baseline of immediate needs and how manage and treat different conditions.

UBC Students: The goals and objectives for UBC students are to expand their clinical experience, develop greater comfort when working with youth, and receive positive feedback as patients experience improved oral health. This program will also encourage dental students to assess their own social responsibility as future oral health care professionals.

3. Research:

Our objective is to help parents and guardians understand how oral health contributes to overall health and measure how this program impacts the community over the long term.


Funding is largely volunteer based, using existing UBC and VSB resources. However, start-up costs for establishing the clinical area are significant. The development of the Adopt a School program is a unique partnership based on community outreach, education, and research. A program of this magnitude requires a commitment of resources to ensure the long term goals of sustainability and innovation.

We thank you for your consideration to support this outstanding community program. For more information, please contact:

Jane Merling
Director of Development & Alumni Affairs
Tel: 604.822.5886