News Article

University of Toronto: The Bulletin

Excerpt from the Article:

Ali Sigal, a 23-year-old dentistry student, believes she doe not have to wait until she has earned her dentistry degree to make a difference in the lives of others. In the one short year that she has been in the dentistry program at U of T, she has already broken down barriers between dental students and persons with disabilities in her attempt to address their lack of access to oral health care.

Sigal, daughter of Dr.Michael Sigal, dentist-in-chief at Mount Sinai Hospital and professor of pediatric dentistry at U of T, and a team of her dental school classmates have created a non-profit organization called Oral Health, Total Health (OHTH). The organization is dedicated to advocating, educating and improving oral health care for persons with special needs; and raising $2 million for the Dental Clinic for Persons With Disabilities at the Mount Sinai Hospital, one of U of T ‘s fully affiliated teaching hospitals. The clinic is the largest of its kind in Canada, providing much needed dental care for this high-risk population.

The future dentist’s inspiration to found such an organization stemmed from a summer research study at the clinic which highlighted the fact that persons with disabilities experience a greater load of oral disease than the general population, increasing their risk of general diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, this population also has the hardest time finding local dental care. ‘Oral health care is one of the top unmet health needs facing this population and is an unacceptable reality,’ Sigal said. ‘Many community dentists claim that they do not feel comfortable caring for these people because…

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