Major Grant Boosts Toronto Foundation Helping Survivors of Domestic Abuse

by design design on March 9, 2015

March 5th, 2015
Press Release

Dr. Borna Meisami Foundation: Restoring Smiles Project

Major Grant Boosts Toronto Foundation Helping Survivors of Domestic Abuse

“This is a landmark moment for the Foundation,” says Dr. Tina Meisami, founder of the Restoring Smiles project. Restoring Smiles is a non-profit organization that provides free dental care to female survivors of domestic abuse.

In July 2014 Restoring Smiles was awarded a $50,000 grant from the GreenShield Canada Community Giving Program for exceptional community service. Thanks to the efforts of project administrator Ms. Simone Taffe to secure the grant, Restoring Smiles is now able to double its number of patients.

“The grant made me realize that what I had hoped and envisioned for Restoring Smiles was no longer a dream,” says Dr. Meisami. “We can now continue to expand our services and hopefully one day become a constant source of support in Ontario for women who need us.”

Since its inception in 2010, the Dr. Borna Meisami Foundation, which administers Restoring Smiles, has provided full scope of free dental treatment to women affected by abuse. Restoring Smiles also provides non-OHIP services such as mental health support, plastic surgery and scar revision.

In the four years since its founding, Restoring Smiles has snowballed into a thriving organization with over 13 female service providers and dozens of patients. Since 2010 the Dr. Borna Meisami Foundation has provided over $150,000 worth of restorative treatment for over 30 patients, most of whom live in shelters across the GTA.

Working with Patients

Along with expanding services, Restoring Smiles plans to use the grant to tackle employment barriers faced by patients. Survivors of abuse often struggle to find gainful employment. The Dr. Borna Meisami Foundation’s newest project is to develop one staff position a year for former patients as spokespeople, administrators and patient care coordinators.
“It is important to us to have our own patients acting as our representatives,” says Dr. Meisami, “and working directly with us to expand and improve the organization. Our patients know best what they need to improve their lives, and they are the best people to tell us what we should do to move forward.” These staff positions will enable former patients to contribute directly to the organization, as well as share their personal strength and valuable lived experience with incoming patients.

About the Foundation
Restoring Smiles is administered by the Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation, which was established in 2010 to honor the memory of Dr. Borna Meisami. Borna was an Orthopaedic surgeon and a humanitarian who was deeply affected by violence against women. Borna passed away at the age of 40 on July 1, 2007. Restoring Smiles commemorates his work as a compassionate and humane doctor with deep concerns about women’s social issues.

Interested in joining the team? The Foundation is seeking new doctors to join the team of service providers working with survivors of domestic abuse. To get in touch, call the numbers below or meet us one-on-one at ASM15, the Ontario Dental Association conference on May 7-9th 2015 at the Toronto Convention Centre.
Contact Info
www.drbmeisamifoundation.com
info@drbmeisamifoundation.com
Office: 416-923-2102

Restoring Smiles is made possible by the generous support of the following partners:
Donors
Toronto Crown and Bridge Study Club
The Douglas Utting Foundation
The Lakeshore Yacht Club
Industry partners
Nobel Biocare
Citagenix Canada
Gordana Dental Arts Studio
R. J. Smith Dental Lab
Proctor & Gamble
Henry Schein
3M
Doctors and their teams

Restoring Smiles provides the full scope of dental treatments such as fillings, crowns, veneers, bleaching, cleanings, root canals, dental implants, dentures, orthodontic treatment, jaw and facial reconstructive surgery. We also provide, as of this year surgical and nonsurgical scar revision.

The Dr. Borna Meisami Foundation is grateful for the work and support of the following individuals:

Founding Members and Board of Directors
Dr. Tina Meisami, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Dr. Maureen Fenn, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Yasmin Mawji, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Shiva Shadmand, Orthodontist
Dr. Renu Varshney, Dental Surgeon
Ms. Simone Taffe, Administrative Director
Members
Dr. Amelia Deliakis, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Sepideh Gharai, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Leslie Laing, Prosthodontist
Dr. Josie Marciello, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Tunde Pal, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Julie Paris, Dental Surgeon
Dr. Susanne Perschbacher, Radiologist
Dr. Emily Trohatos, Orthodontist Ms. Maya Dimitrijevic, Graphic Design
Ms. Romina Fakhai, Student
Ms. Mavis Hunter, Nobelbiocare
Ms. Vanessa Emam, Déco Addictude
Ms. Shyla Matthews, Social Worker
Ms. Ann McConvey, Dental Hygienist
Ms. Monika Nieweglowska, Admin.
Ms. Leaha Soczek, Dental Assistant

Restoring Smiles

by admin on March 8, 2013

This program was set up in honor of Dr. Borna Meisami, an Orthopaedic surgeon and a humanitarian who was deeply affected by the violence and atrocities against women. Borna passed away at the age of 40 in July 2007.

Three years ago on March 8, 2010 International Women’s Day a group of female dental professionals initiated this project to provide dental treatment for abused women in the GTA. Our goal is to assist those women affected by physical abuse through providing Dental Treatment in an attempt to eliminate pain, restore function and speech, and to some degree, the emotional trauma.

When a woman looks in the mirror and sees her injured face or her mutilated dentition, struggles to chew, can’t sleep, eat or speak due to jaw pain, avoids job searching due to being disfigured she is further traumatized and wounded. We hope to provide dental treatment as a concrete and real way to end her cycle and help her heal and move on in her long road to recovery.

For more information please contact Ms. Simone Taffe at:  drbmeisamifoundation@gmail.com

Women’s Day 2013

by admin on March 8, 2013

“Restore a smile, empower a woman, reclaim her life’  - this is the motto of an innovative program that provides free dental treatments to women affected by physical abuse. Operated by the Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation, and supported by a consortium of volunteer female dentists and specialists, the goal of the foundation is to make a difference in the lives of victims of domestic abuse that are currently living in shelters. By providing dental treatment, the goal of the ‘Restoring Smiles” project is to eliminate pain, restore function and proper speech, and to some degree, alleviate the emotional trauma. For Women’s Day 2013, they pledge to support twice as many victims of abuse as in previous years.

Dr. Tina Meisami, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Etobicoke General Hospital, is the founder of this initiative and a recipient of the 2012 Etobicoke Guardian Urban Hero Award for this work. She notes that the group came together after noticing a void in services offered to abused women. “While the victims of domestic violence have access to medical support and services of various kinds, dentistry is not currently offered” says Dr. Meisami. She adds, “We wanted to do something within our own skills to help other women get out of the vicious cycle of abuse, neglect, poverty and their ramifications such as poor oral and overall health.”

Dental and facial reconstruction is often needed by the victims of physically abusive relationships but due to their circumstances it is sometimes difficult for them to afford the care they need.  In the past three years the foundation has provided $70,000 worth of advanced dental and facial reconstructive treatments to woman living in shelters in the GTA.  These treatments include full scope of dental treatments such as fillings, crowns, veneers, bleaching, cleanings, root canals, dental implants, dentures, orthodontic treatment, facial reconstructive surgery.

“Depression and anxiety issues can sometimes be solved by doing something as simple as fixing someone’s teeth,” says Maureen Fenn, a family dentist and member of the group.

Professional services are provided by the dental practices of Dr. Tina Meisami, Dr. Renu Varshney, Dr. Yasmin Mawji, Dr. Shiva Shadmand, Dr. Maureen Fenn, Dr. Julie Paris, Dr. Tunde Pal, Dr. Amelia Deliakis, Dr. Leslie Laing, Dr. Susanne Perschbacher, Dr. Josie Marciello, Ms. Anne McConvey and their teams. Administrative sevices and treatment co-ordination are provided by Ms. Simone Taffe, Ms. Mavis Hunter and Ms. Vanessa Emam. The required materials are donated by dental companies and labs including Nobel Biocare, Citagenix Canada, Dentsply Canada, 3M, Procter and Gamble, Henry Schein, Sinclair Dental, Kerr, as well as Gordana and R. J. Smith dental laboratories.  

The non-profit foundation and ‘Restoring Smiles’ project was set up in 2010 to honor the memory of Dr. Borna Meisami, an Orthopaedic surgeon and a humanitarian who was deeply affected by the violence and atrocities against women. Borna passed away at the age of 40 on July 1, 2007. The impetus for the project came from a desire to continue his work as a compassionate humane doctor with deep concerns about women’s social issues, in particular violence against women.

In 2013, the group hopes to reach out to more women and to provide more treatments to those in need.  For Women’s Day 2013, they pledge to support twice as many victims of abuse as in previous years. “We have the capacity to treat twice as many women as we did in 2012 and 2011,’ says Dr. Meisami. “But we first need to create greater awareness of the importance of dental treatments for abused women and to find ways to let those in need know about the services we provide.”  

The “Restoring Smiles’ project provides a concrete way to help victims of abuse continue on the road to recovery.

For more information please email Ms. Simone Taffe the Foundation Coordinator at:  drbmeisamifoundation@gmail.com or visit the website at:  http://www.drbmeisamifoundation.com/

 

Past Media Coverage:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/news-and-views/sarah-hampson/foundation-provides-free-dental-treatment-to-abused-women/article2328516/

http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/episodes/2012/03/08/shelter-dental-care/