Several years ago on a visit to Vietnam, Dr David Booth, an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Oral Pathologist from Western Australia, became aware that basic medical and dental services were not available to a vast majority of Vietnamese people, particularly children.
Dr Booth also noted that there were extraordinary number of orphanages, many in rural areas, which were in no position to secure any of these services and actually relied on donations to provide food for the children in their care. Given his long career in Dentistry, Dr Booth was optimistic that many of his students from years past, now qualified and well experienced clinicians may well see the need to assist these children. Amongst this fraternity were native Vietnamese who became very supportive of Dr Booth’s plans to provide service to as many of these underprivileged children as possible.
Dr Gabby Ly, with relatives still in Vietnam, was able to assist Dr Booth in establishing a liaison who identified orphanages that would accept the services of a group of volunteers from Australia, who would provide dental services, and if possible other health services to the children and also their carers.
The volunteers travelling from Western Australia, on two or three occasions a year would pay all their own travel and personal costs as well as covering the costs of local volunteers who also act as interpreters. The local volunteers would not usually be dental professionals, but often they would be partners and friends who would travel to provide support with logistics, i.e. set up work areas etc, again all at their own cost. Almost all the equipment required travels with the group and they rely on the generosity of the WA dental and allied professions to donate materials. On one occasion the cost of excess baggage for the equipment was $AUD 2500.
To date, financial support has been received from volunteers and some professionals.
About Our founder, Dr David Booth
MDSc, MEd, FRACDS, FFOP(RCPA), FICD. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Oral Pathologist
Dr David Booth is qualified in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine.
He is a widely respected clinician, teacher and academic in Western Australia. After training most West Australian dentists and many specialists over a career spanning almost 40 years, Dr Booth retired from his Oral Surgery Consultancy. He continues to practice as an Oral Pathologist and maintains his involvement in the training and mentoring of today’s West Australian undergraduate and postgraduate dentists.
In 2005, he co-founded Christian Health Aid Team and was our President for 11 years. His role with CHAT has been most active, from leading the first trip to participating or leading trips every year since. Currently Dr Jennifer Chan is the president of CHAT.
In 2010, David was Western Australia’s State finalist for Senior Australian of the Year.
Although retired, he still pursues an active life. He continues to teach, travel, and pursue his interests in cooking, having done courses in Perth, London’s Cordon Bleu School and Vietnam. He is a member of the Perth WAFL Football Club, the West Coast Eagles Football Club, and the WA Cricket Association
1954: Graduated from Wesley College, South Perth
1959: B.D.Sc. (W.A.)
1970: M.D.Sc. (W.A.)
1996: Grad.Dip.Ed. (D)
1996: FFOP (RCPA)
1998: M.Ed. (Tas)
Appointment and Employment History
Junior House Officer, Perth Dental Hospital
1960 to 2001:
Private practice at St.Helens, England and Bentley, Western Australia.
Positions at Perth Dental Hospital, Royal Perth Hospital, Queen Mary’s Hospital in England, Cardiff Dental School at the Welsh National School of Medicine, UWA.
2007 to 2016:
President, Christian Health Aid Team of WA Inc. (CHAT)
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Dentistry, UWA
Member, Consumer Advisory Committee, and subcommittee dealing with Blood and Blood Products, Royal Perth Hospital
Member and Sponsor, Plan (International) Australia!
With the number of trips now out to four a year and many more people wishing to volunteer, some of whom are now from the east coast, there became the need to formalise the group and alleviate much of the burden from the very committed and energetic 70 year old Dr Booth.
It was resolved to establish a formal legal entity and apply for charitable status, to provide a cost effective means of raising funds to support the projects and purchase much needed equipment.
The Christian Health Aid Team Inc. (CHAT) was formed with the appropriate Committee and policies to provide a base for membership to interested persons.
Each member (volunteer) is required to pay a membership fee ($20) and along with travel costs to and from Vietnam, is asked to pay ground travel costs of $230 to assist with delivering the projects they are personally involved in. This includes professional clinicians as well as helpers.
The objectives of the Team shall be to:
(1) Offer health aid to underprivileged people irrespective of their race, religion or creed.
(2) Contribute to education of underprivileged people and their carers in preventive and health care practices.
(3) Provide a forum and collection of people prepared to provide advice in the provision of health care for the underprivileged.
(4) Raise funds in support of achieving the objectives of the Team.
With this new structure and formalised processes, the objectives of CHAT will be obtained with far more certainty and community participation. Whilst currently dental services are the major focus due to the background of the volunteers, there is every intention to expand the health services as the volunteer base diversifies.
A successful application for charitable status provides CHAT with an excellent platform to seek support from a wider range of health and allied professionals and the general community.
CHAT Constitution and Rules 2019