Celebrating NC’s Community Health Champions

Pictured are Ruth McMullen and Irene Sebastianelli who were both recently recognized as Community Health Champions at the 2012 Quest annual general meeting.

Two Niagara College dental staff were recognized at the 2012 Quest Annual General Meeting, as Community Health Champions.

Ruth McMullen (committee co-chair) and Irene Sebastianelli where recognized for their contributions to Quest’s Dental Advisory committee. This committee was instrumental in the development of Quest’s volunteer dental program, as well as contributing to the implementation of their dental operatories.

The initiative began more than six years ago. Sebastianelli said she was approached by a student at the College on behalf of a police officer who wanted to provide dental services to the homeless. An advisory committee was formed including community members who were interested in providing dental and medical care to those not financially able to afford them.

After years of planning, Quest opened its doors on Queenston St. in St. Catharines about a year ago. The Community Health Centre provides primary health care services to individuals experiencing social, economic and cultural barriers while promoting wellness, community and social justice. It currently services about 1800 clients.

“It’s very rewarding to be a part of this,” said Sebastianelli, who was part of the original committee.

The dental service component is expected to launchat Quest in late fall. McMullen said the hope is for NC students in Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene programs to volunteer at Quest to help provide the dental services. Students would not only gain valuable experience in an inter-professional environment, but would be helping out a worthy cause.

McMullen, a current committee member, noted that seeing smiles on clients’ faces during the pilot projects has been meaningful.

“I had one fellow give me a hug and say, ‘I know I can go get a job because I can smile.’ That’s huge.”

For more information visit Quest’s website here.

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