Health Law Intern Partners with Restoring Smiles for Increased Dental Health Care in Ontario

By Restoring Smiles 6 months agoNo Comments

Press Release
June 15, 2017

The Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation: Restoring Smiles project is a charitable network of dentists and physicians who provide free treatment to female survivors of domestic violence in the Greater Toronto Area. For Restoring Smiles, every day is a day to empower women. This summer the organization has partnered with Natasha Novac, Osgoode Hall law student and recipient of the James Kreppner Health Law Internship in Patient Rights/ Advocacy, to work on external advocacy initiatives geared at improving public access to dental care for survivors.

In Ontario, public health plans do not include dental care for adults. Alternative public health plans, such as Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), include coverage for dental treatment that is minimal and often insufficient. The inaccessibility of public coverage for dental care disproportionately affects low-income Ontarians, including survivors of domestic violence.

Novac is the recipient of the James Kreppner Health Law Internship in Patient Rights/ Advocacy at Osgoode Hall Law School, a summer internship that enables law students to advocate for social change in the health care field. Novac said, “Through developing an advocacy strategic plan, connecting with community health advocacy organizations and raising public awareness around dental care accessibility, I intend to organize Restoring Smiles’ efforts to advocate for increased dental health care in Ontario.”

The Toronto-based Restoring Smiles was founded by five University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry alumnae – Dr. Tina Meisami, Dr. Shiva Shadmand, Dr. Maureen Fenn, Dr. Renu Varshney and Dr. Yasmin Mawji. It grew out of the Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation’s commitment to honour the work and humanitarian efforts of Dr. Borna Meisami, a compassionate surgeon deeply concerned about women’s social issues. Through the philanthropic work of dental treatment providers and generous community sponsors, services provided by project personnel help survivors of domestic violence
rediscover their self-confidence by restoring their smiles, empowering them to move forward and to reclaim their lives after abuse.

“Our foundation’s vision and mission is to restore confidence in women who have survived domestic violence by addressing more than just the physical effects of abuse,” says Dr. Tina Meisami. “Our services extend beyond repairing purely functional issues with missing and debilitated dentition as we are able to empower these women to reclaim and uplift their lives and the lives of their children.”

As a Canada Revenue Agency-registered charity, the Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation is focused on expanding the Restoring Smiles’ services to meet the needs of female survivors of abuse. Since it’s founding in 2010, the Dr. Borna Meisami Foundation has provided over $500,000 worth of restorative treatment for patients, most of whom live in shelters in the greater Toronto area, St. Catherines and Ottawa.

“Restoring a woman’s smile has an incredibly powerful effect on her overall physical and mental health,” says Dr. Tina Meisami. “It is inspiring to know that our work not only reconstructs the patients’ ability to regain their full facial and dental function, but also improves their lives by reinvigorating their self-confidence, relationships and job prospects.”

To contact us for additional details about the collaboration, call 416.915.4495, e-mail or visit

  News, Press Release
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