UBC gets $8M for Vietnamese oral research center

The Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) has received an in-kind gift of $8 million ($8.2 million U.S.) from the Ho Chi Minh City National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology to create an oral health research center.

About 1 in 500 babies is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate in Vietnam, 80% of children suffer severe tooth decay, and oral cancer occurs frequently with often fatal outcomes, according to the university.

The UBC Dentistry-Vietnam Oral Health Research Center will provide a hub for education, research, and knowledge transfer in Southeast Asia to help address such challenges. The 12,916-sq-ft facility will be housed on the fourth floor of the National Hospital of Odonto-Stomatology. The center will focus on research areas that include oral cancer, dental caries, and craniofacial birth defects.

The Faculty of Dentistry has a history of working with Vietnam. Over the past decade, faculty members, general practice residents, and dental students have rotated to Ho Chi Minh City to provide patient treatment and oral health education, the university noted. They have treated a broad spectrum of diseases not typically seen in British Columbia.

The gift -- the Faculty of Dentistry's largest to date -- forms part of a fundraising and alumni engagement campaign. The goals are to raise $1.5 billion for students, research, and community engagement, and also to double the number of alumni involved annually in the university by 2015.

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