If anyone can help make people smile, it is Sura Hadad (BSc’98, DDS’03). She has proven that not just through her popular dental Halifax practice but also by giving back to communities home and abroad with her time and effort.

Whoever needs help, I just go for it,” says Dr. Hadad. “It could be one person, or it could be many. I don’t have any criteria. If there is someone out there in need, I’m there.”

That is no understatement. Since immigrating to Canada from Iraq in 1991, Dr. Hadad has demonstrated a level of community involvement that truly exemplifies the spirit of going above and beyond. She has provided free dental at her clinic to Syrian refugees, who are new to Canada, and seeking oral care. She frequently donates toothbrushes and sandwiches she makes with her family to shelters throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality. She and her family are also sponsoring a family in her home country. And in 2018, Dr. Hadad and her daughter went to Kenya to help build a dormitory for a girls’ college as volunteers with One Woman, a Halifax-based global social enterprise dedicated to helping women and girls reach their full potential.

Her dedication to helping others and quest to make the world a better place has earned her a 2019 Aurum Award from Dalhousie.

“My family lived through a lot of hard times, especially when I was growing up, and ultimately we were forced to leave Iraq,” Dr. Hadad recalls. “We had many challenges to re-establish our lives. I always thought if I ever had the opportunity, I was going to try and support those that have gone through struggles like I did. Now I can make a difference, and it is a heart-warming feeling.”

Dal-alumni-Aurum-Awards_Sura-HadadDr. Hadad’s spirit of generosity also extends to Dalhousie, manifesting itself both in a gift to the university’s ambitious Dental Clinic Renewal Project, which was completed last fall, and the establishment of a scholarship for second-year students in the Doctor of Dental Surgery Qualifying Program, who want to relocate to Canada and practice.

“Dalhousie gave me valuable education and skills, so I wanted to give back to ensure more students receive the same quality of education as I did while rewarding their hard work and dedication.”

In line with this commitment, Dr. Hadad is looking at other opportunities to get involved. She would like to travel more to help refugees around the world, maybe even establish a free dental clinic to serve those in need. But more than that, she wants to continue to inspire others to follow her lead, not just students and fellow alumni, but also her children.

“When you can encourage people to step up, that’s when you know you are really making a difference, and it is particularly rewarding because you know the work you are doing will have a domino effect.”