Oral health services: delivered efficiently—and in style!

UBC Dentistry’s community outreach programs have a new cargo van and portable dental equipment to help deliver oral health services to marginalized communities in the Lower Mainland and across the province.

Nimble and quick, the Ford Transit XL SWB Cargo Van boasts side and rear doors for loading and unloading ease and a sizable cargo hold—a payload of up to 750 kg (1,650 lbs.) and close to 3.7 m3 (130 cu. ft.) of space. And ideal fit for its inaugural equipment (with room for more): The van will transport four A-dec Porta-Chair 3460 dental chairs each with accompanying Aseptico ADU-17X Express II portable dental systems. A new Safari SAF-3000 mobile X-ray unit will also go along for the ride.

Left image: Ford Transit XL SWB Cargo Van (left). Right images: Safari SAF-3000 mobile X-ray unit (L), Aseptico ADU-17X Express II portable dental system (C), and A-dec Porta-Chair 3460 dental chair (R).

The van’s small turning radius makes it the ideal urban work vehicle for travelling to (and parking at) community partnership sites such as Abbotsford Food Bank, Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre, Richmond Hospital, Vancouver Native Health Society, as well as long-term-care facilities serviced by the UBC Geriatric Dentistry Program. In the summer the van, powered by its 2.5L Duratec engine and 6-Speed Automatic Overdrive transmission, will accompany students and volunteers for the annual outreach dental clinic 110 kilometres west of Williams Lake in the remote Tl’etinox (Anaham) reserve.

Such a van outfitted with portable dental equipment allows more dental and dental hygiene students to participate in treatment and education for people in need, in both curriculum-based and volunteer-based outreach rotations. Flexible and cost effective to operate, the scheme will help grow UBC Dentistry’s community outreach programs and remain focused on its vision, goals and anticipated impact: communities in need shall receive essential oral health care and education while students gain valuable off-campus clinical experience and a self-realized sense of social responsibility.

Perhaps one day the van will joined by a bigger fleet member like an RV outfitted as a mobile dental clinic with dental operatories, but for now, as the Faculty’s efforts in community outreach evolve, Dentistry’s van and its colourful playful livery will press into community service without any stalls.

The cargo van and all the portable dental equipment were purchased from donations by generous supporters of UBC Dentistry.