Teddy Bear Hospital: A Journey of Fun, Learning, and Community Engagement
Our students played a leading role in the success of the Teddy Bear Hospital during the Chadstone Winter Check Up, bringing joy to over 2000 children and families.
The origin of the Teddy Bear Hospital (TBH) is a little fuzzy. It's believed to have originated in Norway in the early 1990s, and was introduced in Australia in 2009 by UoM student volunteers from the FMDHS. In 2015, Teddy Dentists became a part of TBH, contributing significantly ever since. TBH hosts two major events in Victoria: The Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal Event Kids Day Out and the Chadstone Winter Check Up.
TBH offers valuable benefits for children, families, and healthcare students. Through fun, interactive activities, it helps demystify medical procedures, reducing stress and fear. These activities also enhance students' communication skills with children and their caregivers, while providing networking opportunities across various health disciplines.
Steering this year's TBH ship are four dedicated students from MDS:
- Sara Chang (3rd year)
- Chong Li (3rd year)
- Jordan Blum (3rd year)
- Jonathan Liu (2nd year)
The four student leaders efficiently recruited and organized 1st and 2nd year students into a skilled band of 'Teddy Dentists.' They coordinated rotations across four key stations - intraoral exams, bitewings, oral hygiene, and dietary advice - ensuring a broad, hands-on experience for all volunteers with various age groups.
Approximately 2000 children, their teddy bears, and their families attended the Chadstone Winter Check Up. Over 40 student volunteers - DDS, BOH, and Peads Post grad Dr. My-Van Trinh (with MDS having the largest student numbers) - participated. The dentistry stations were extremely popular, and the kids absolutely enjoyed them.
"As students, we don’t get many opportunities to interact with children. Through talking and playing with the children at the event, we get to find out effective ways to talk to and engage with the children. The brushing and flossing stations are essentially oral hygiene instruction, even though it’s directed at their Teddy Bears!" - Chong Li, 3rd year student
"Many parents and carers expressed to me how fantastic they found the session and praised the students as “wonderful”. Most parents were amazed to learn that the Teddy Dentists were students and not ‘graduated’ clinicians. The student leaders and the MDS volunteers were unfailingly professional, happy, and just wonderful!
The Melbourne Dental School can and should be proud of the calm, friendly, and professional way these students organised both new and experienced students to become the most amazing ambassadors for dentistry at the Teddy Bear Hospital. So, congratulations to the M.D.S. Teddy Dentists! (I believe) the future of dentistry is in good paws." - Ms Julie Owen, Lecturer, Oral Health