Helping our community

Oral Medicine Specialist, Dr Janina Christoforou, volunteers specialist services to St Pat’s and Healing Smiles patients.


Dr Janina Christoforou has been quietly volunteering for St Pat’s Oral Health Clinic and Healing Smiles for a number of years, whenever the services of an Oral Medicine Specialist have been required.

When asked why she first became a volunteer at St Pat’s, Janina responds that as a health provider, your main objective is to help people. “To me, this means helping all people in our community,” she explains. “When I heard about St Pat’s, I made contact with Andrea Paterson to see if I could offer specialist services in the St Pat’s dental clinic. After signing a few forms, I became a volunteer and I never looked back.”

Janina volunteers with St Pat’s on a referral basis. “Whenever a volunteer dentist finds something that warrants further investigation during their examination, I will be contacted to arrange a time to see the patient,” she says. “This can range from offering services weekly to every few months.”

Janina can provide management for orofacial pain and mucosal disease. The most common referred treatments have revolved around oral mucosal diseases. “A consultation will be undertaken and there are times when a biopsy will be required for histopathological evaluation,” she says. “Instruction on preventive oral health regimes is always discussed, but it is difficult to often change an individual’s mindset due to the significant stressors in their day-to-day lives. It is important to have an understanding of the challenges the patients at the St Pat’s clinic face, as this helps to formulate an appropriate management pathway.”

Janina says all patients she has met at St Pat’s have been very appreciative. “Reassurement comes a long way in alleviating some of the patients many stressors and it is so fulfilling to be a part of this,” she says. “Many times, it is just a smile that you are given from a patient, which shows that you are helping them.

“It was only recently that I had the pleasure of consulting a wonderful lady who was able to share with me how she has positively changed the direction in her life,” she adds. “She expressed such happiness and fulfillment in painting her residence. Her mother also attended the appointment, and she was so supportive of this change.

"She was now on a pathway to reduce smoking; she understands that it will be difficult, but it was so nice to hear a thought-out plan to undertake this journey.”

Janina also volunteers for Healing Smiles on a referral basis and says it has likewise been a wonderful experience. “To be a part of a group of dentists that improve the lives of women who have had an unfortunate encounter with domestic violence is special,” she explains. “The women that you treat have changed their lives for the better and to be a part of this progressive change to further make a positive change in their lives is rewarding. It is always so fulfilling to hear how the small things we do can be such a big step forward in alleviating stress, improving self-esteem, and providing awareness.”

To other specialists who are thinking about volunteering with St Pat’s or Healing Smiles, Janina says volunteering is a beneficial part of dentistry. “It is challenging, and it allows you to experience a wider breadth and understanding of the problems certain individuals in our community face in their daily lives,” she says. “Each volunteer group will be seeing patients with a different set of challenges. Being able to listen to their stories, aids in your development of community awareness, and as a specialist, you are able to add to the wonderful service that our volunteer general dentists provide.” 

For more details about volunteering at St Pat’s email Debbie McLeod at 

For other ways you or your practice can volunteer through ADHF programs, please contact WA State Coordinator, Andrea Paterson at 

For more details about volunteering with Healing Smiles, email

More News

Get in touch with the media team

Do you have a clinical article to submit or a good news story to share? We'd love to hear about it. We have plenty of advertising opportunities, too. Get in touch!

Advertising opportunities are available in the Western Articulator, on the website and across social media.

Contact Shaden on 0452 426 533 or


We welcome clinical articles and good news stories for the Western Articulator and social media.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.