As part of International Volunteer Day (IVD) tomorrow, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) acknowledges the contributions made by its members who volunteer their service to improve the oral health of disadvantaged Australians and communities overseas. IVD is a day to celebrate the efforts of volunteers, including Australian volunteer dentists who make a real difference in our communities.
Australians are great volunteers. The most recent Census recorded that approximately 3.1 million Australians performed voluntary work for an organisation or group. The ADA’s latest Dental Practice Survey outlines that in 2011-12 one in five Australian dentists on average spent 30 days away from practice volunteering to assist others in the community.
Newly elected President of the ADA, Dr Rick Olive, AM RFD said, “Australian dentists dedicate almost half a million hours to volunteer for others each year. This contribution is part of the more than 700 million hours of unpaid work each year provided by all volunteers in Australia; the value of that unpaid labour estimated by government to be almost $15 billion.
“Dentists all over Australia take time out from their day-to-day practice to give back to their community. Dentists provide pro bono dental care to patients on public sector waiting lists, veterans, and residents in aged care facilities. Ranging from volunteer projects across Australia to overseas, the dental profession, whether through organisations such as the ADA Foundation, National Dental Foundation, or on their own initiative, provide their expertise, labour, time and resources for those in need. We are proud of the volunteer work that our fellow dentists undertake and want to congratulate them on their contribution.
“While these estimates do give some perspective on the extraordinary work of all volunteers, dentists volunteering in particular has the potential to generate lifelong benefits. The flow-on benefits of good dental health for patients’ self-esteem, employment prospects, and personal relationships cannot be truly quantified,” Dr Olive concluded.
For more information on Australian dentists’ volunteer projects, click here.