Congratulations to Dr. Kenneth Wright, founder of the Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS) program at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, on receiving a Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award from Governor General David Johnston during a ceremony in Toronto on November 10, 2015.
The award recognizes Canadians who have made a significant, sustained and unpaid contribution to their community. Working behind the scenes, recipients volunteer their time and effort to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are part of the Canadian character.
“My life has been enriched by the people with whom I have worked, and what I have learned about wonderful community organizations,” said Dr. Wright. “As dentists, we have had the advantage of a good education and the skills to help people.”
Dr. Wright’s community involvement began when his daughter was born with Down Syndrome. Volunteering with other families, Dr. Wright helped to provide support and fundraised for parents of children with disabilities.
In 2008, he founded Schulich Dentistry’s DOCS program, which delivers free dental care to low-income families and individuals with no dental insurance. DOCS has become a flagship of Schulich Dentistry’s educational experience, evolving from a coordinated volunteer effort to a mandatory curriculum component for fourth-year students.
For more than forty years, Dr. Wright has also been involved with various organizations and initiatives, including the United Way campaign, McCormick Home, the Scatcherd School, A Chair Affair and Community Living London.
“Dr. Wright is an inspiration to the School,” said Dr. Michael J. Strong, dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “As health-care professionals, caring for the community is a value that is at the heart of what we teach at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. Dr. Wright not only embodies that belief, but serves as a role model for all students, faculty and staff.”
In recognition of his work, Dr. Wright was recognized with The Ontario Dental Association Community Service Recognition Award in 2010, and was named to the Mayor’s New Year’s Honour List 2014 in the category of Humanitarian.
Dr. Wright says he is surprised and humbled at receiving this significant recognition following a nomination by Schulich Dentistry. “It is something special to be honoured by your colleagues,” he said. “In the almost 50 years of my association with the School, the full-time and part-time faculty, the students and the staff have been so positive in their friendship and support.”
For more information about the Caring Canadian Award or to nominate a great volunteer, visit caring.gg.ca.