With compassion and love

Dr Rachael Wu is helping disadvantaged patients with Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA).


Dr Rachael Wu started volunteering because she wanted to make a positive impact on the community and help people who are disadvantaged. “Sometimes a small helping hand can go a long way,” she says. “People helped my family and me when we needed it. Now I help someone else, and I hope they will continue the chain and help another.”

When Rachael started Dental School, she started volunteering with Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) – a dental charity that provides free dental care to a range of disadvantaged patients (including refugees, people experiencing homelessness and asylum seekers), with the focus of spreading compassion and love.

“We provide a range of dental procedures, including oral hygiene education, scale and clean, direct restorations, extractions, root canals and dentures,” Rachael says. “TIMA aims to give patients back their confidence and smile, so they feel empowered to gradually improve their lives and perhaps also help someone else in need. We also want to teach good oral hygiene habits, so they know how to take care of their teeth in the long-term.

“We received the 2022 Mars Wrigley Foundation and Australian Dental Health Foundation Healthier Smiles Community Grant and TIMA is grateful that we received the grant to help fund TIMA dental equipment and our oral hygiene education program.”

Since Dental School, Rachael’s role with the charity has transitioned – from waiting room helper, to dental assistant, to lead dental assistant, to clinic coordinator to dentist.

She says the experience of volunteering with TIMA has been both an enlightening and fulfilling experience. “I enjoy being a part of a team that works together to help people build their confidence again,” Rachael explains. “The best aspect is seeing the smiles on patients’ faces when they finish their treatment and hearing about the positive impact the treatment has had on their life.”

In addition to her time with TIMA, Rachael has volunteered at Dental Rescue Days through Dr Tracey Gold. “(Tracey) was my tutor during my time at Dental School and the event that she ran had similar principles to mine, so I thought it would be great if I could help,” Rachael says. “I found the experience fun, as it was nice seeing all the dental assistants, tutors and colleagues from my Dental School days.”

For Rachael, there have been many standout moments during her time volunteering. “We had a patient who had dental anxiety and did not go to see the dentist due to fear and financial reasons,” Rachael recalls. “We did not have access to GA and she required extractions. So, with the help of a couple non-clinical volunteers, we encouraged her, talked to her and eased her through the extractions. The patient was able to complete her treatment and the edentulous areas were restored with dentures.

“The most rewarding part is when patients return and tell you about the positive impact that we, the dental charity, has had on their lives,” she adds. “TIMA aims to empower people with the dental treatment we provide. So, it’s really lovely to hear patients gain their confidence back and are able to secure a job or start studying, and gradually improve their lives.”

To other dentists thinking about volunteering, Rachael says to have fun. “In order to have fun, it should come from the heart or a positive reason,” she explains. “I have seen some people volunteer for superficial reasons like competing with another volunteer, which defeats the spirit of volunteering.”

If you are interested in volunteering with TIMA, contact tima.perth@tzuchi.org.au

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 Shaden.Kanaan@adawa.com.au


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.