University of Portsmouth dentist wins major award for her ‘life-changing’ work to help homeless people in the city

Janani Sivabalan, clinical teaching fellow at the University of Portsmouth Dental Academy, won an award for the best Local Oral Health Initiative in the South at the inaugural FMC Clinical Dentistry Awards.

Janani collected the award at the awards in the Royal Garden Hotel in London earlier this month.

It follows her work to set up a dental clinic for homeless people in the city last December, with over 70 staff and student volunteers helping more than 50 patients who were in dire need of scaling, fillings, and extractions.

Dental students Mansoor Sadaat, Jay Bhardwa and Veronika Ramanauskaite with their patient, Don at University of Portsmouth Dental Academy, William Beatty Building, Portsmouth on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

As well as offering free dental care to homeless people, the university worked alongside its in-house eye clinic service to provide extra treatment to the homeless.

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The award-winning dentist said: ‘I’m extremely grateful and proud for the recognition of this award. The team at the Dental Academy and the Eye Clinic worked tirelessly to bring these clinics to life, and our project has been beneficial for both local homeless people and for the students who delivered dental care.

‘Establishing the walk-in-clinics service has strengthened local links between the University of Portsmouth and local homeless services and it is the Dental Academy’s goal to keep improving the welfare of our local community.’

The Dental Academy has an established community outreach programme where dental care students and staff provide free dental examinations and oral hygiene advice to the community, including schools and homeless shelters.Professor Chris Louca, director of the University’s Dental Academy, said: ‘We are extremely proud of Janani’s achievements with the homeless walk-in-clinics and her Clinical Dentistry Award.

‘Her efforts have significantly contributed to our ambition to enhance our outreach based activities for both the well being of our community and education of our students.

The Dental Academy is an NHS-run dental clinic offering dental hygiene, dental nursing, dental therapy, and dentistry, with students working under the supervision of qualified staff.

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