STUDENT LEADERS IN ACTION
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Here are stories about dentistry students taking leadership roles in their communities:
- Dalhousie Students and Faculty Provide Health Care in the Community, by Kelsey Eatmon (Dalhousie '18)
- Experiences as a Dentistry Student at UBC, by Morris Huang (UBC '17)
- McGill Student Finds Multiple Volunteer Opportunities, by Martine Anderson (McGill '18)
- In Pursuit of Leadership at UBC, by Dylan J. Olver (UBC '17)
- Opportunities Abound at the University of Alberta School of Dentistry, by Ryan McCoy (Alberta '18)
If you have a story you'd like to share with us, please let us know by using the contact form available on this site or by calling the Secretariat at 613-520-5001.
To learn more about dentistry students who are include FCDSA as part of their leadership path, please go to the Student Leader Profiles section of this site.
Dalhousie Students and Faculty Provide Health Care in the Community
From February 15-19, 2016, several students and instructors from the Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie University, along with two dentists from the Canadian Forces provided dental services at the North End Community Health Centre (NECHC) during their study week this past February.
In only 4 days, the team was able to provide 29 examinations, 40 radiographs, 2 scaling appointments, 27 restorations, 22 extractions, 2 root canal treatments, and 1 denture reline.
The NECHC was founded by a group of residents in 1971 who recognized a need for accessible healthcare in their community. Since its inauguration, the NECHC has developed into a non-profit, collaborative and interdisciplinary centre offering a range of services including primary care, nutrition counselling, dental care and health promotion, just to name just a few.
Dalhousie dentistry and dental hygiene students are extremely fortunate to be able to work in this clinic to provide health care to this community, but there continues to be a need for more dental services. Dalhousie Dentistry’s Dr. Raftus (DDS Class of 1986) recognized the oral health disparity in Halifax and empowered a group of 18 dental students, 5 instructors, and two dental assistants to tackle this issue alongside him.
All of the members involved hope to see this initiative continue on a yearly basis or even more frequently, if possible. Dentists, students and support staff like those involved in this team are not only making a difference for the patients they serve, but they are also instrumental in empowering others to get involved in volunteerism within their communities.
Experiences as a Dentistry Student at UBC
My name is Morris Huang and I am a DMD student at University of British Columbia. It has been an immense journey of learning and self-exploration in the years that I’ve been a part of the school of dentistry and a part of the dental community.
I am very fortunate to be part of the UBC school of Dentistry as there are many opportunities in extracurricular involvement within the school and the community. I am an active participant in community volunteer clinics. I was fortunate enough to lead the student team to Anaham Lake, British Columbia in a dental mission trip with The Dental Mission Project during July 2015. It was an eye opening experience during my participation in July 2014 and I took the initiative to lead the student team in providing dental care to remote aboriginal community in Interior British Columbia. The experience was phenomenal, as student participants received a great deal of clinical experience and honed their clinical skills while providing exceptional dental care free of charge for individuals in need of care.
UBC dentistry is in partnership with the RV Tucker Institute for Conservative Cast Gold Restorations; the school is fortunate enough to have a long running, student-run Study Club for Conservative Cast Gold Restorations. This is one of the Chapters of RV Tucker Cast Gold Study clubs where senior dentists that are part of the institution mentor students in both simulation and direct patient care. I am acting as the student body leader for junior years and moving on to organizing the student participation and patient management for senior years in the near future. It is an experience in both clinic management and participant management. Ensuring all students and mentors have adequate support and supply for clinical care of 24 patients per session in need of conservative cast gold crown, inlay, and onlay.
The field of dentistry is broad and full of opportunities ranging from academics to specializations. My personal goal leans towards my interest in providing comprehensive patient care as a general dentist. I am ambitious and starved for a wide range of knowledge where I can provide my future patients with the utmost comprehensive care and wide range of viable options.
The future of dentistry as a field is forever evolving, as do all fields of career and work. 50 years ago the loss of a tooth meant a fixed or removable prosthetics; today the options ranges from traditional bridges, to titanium implants, 3D morphological zirconia implants, All-on-4 bar over dentures, and much more. GV Black’s principles of tooth preparations are slowly being modified with the advent of improved direct restorative materials. Digital impression and scanners will replace alginate or Polyvinyl siloxane impression materials to create better models for indirect restorations. The list can go on and on. One thing is for certain, the learning does not stop after graduation of Dental school but rather one has earned a ticket to embark on a greater journey of exploration in the massive world of dentistry.
McGill Student Finds Multiple Volunteer Opportunities
My name is Martine Anderson and I am a second-year dental student at McGill University Faculty of Dentistry. I hail from Alberta, but have been living in Montreal for over 7 years and I love it here. I became interested in dentistry during high school, and shadowed my local dentist at Calgary Urban Projects Society (CUPS), an emergency dental clinic.
During my first year in the DMD program at McGill, I held the executive position of Social Rep for the Class of 2018. I had a blast coordinating fundraising and social events on behalf of my class, including a student trip to a traditional “Sugar Shack” in rural Quebec.
This year I became the vice-president of the Class of 2018, and assumed more responsibilities in the way of class and faculty interaction. My favorite part of my executive role is that I have an opportunity to communicate one-on-one with every member of my class and represent them. It is a very gratifying role, and I receive a lot of support from my classmates. Initiatives I have helped lead this year include the annual faculty-wide clothing orders, the Class of 2018 Sock Drive, Oral Health Total Health day, and McGill Dentistry’s Annual Outreach Gala, supporting McGill’s Community Service Program (CSP).
I first became involved with the CSP in 2010, when I volunteered at the Mobile Dental Outreach Clinic (MDOC). The MDOC is a model for community clinics in other Canadian dental programs, and just one aspect of my faculty’s amazing community service program that resonates with my own goals and interests. Through this program, student dentists provide free dental care to those in need, including refugees, recent immigrant families, working-poor families, the disabled, the elderly, the homeless and street youth.
I volunteered to be an organizer of this year’s Outreach Gala because I wanted to continue to contribute to the MDOC. As an organizer, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the other branches of the CSP. My role within the gala is to manage donations from community and business partners, coordinate ticket sales, and provide educational content about the CSP at the event and online.
My contributions this year have helped to provide effective, respectful and accessible high quality dental work to those who need it most. More importantly, I have learned many important lessons about the oral health care needs of marginalized communities with in my city, and I plan to continue to contribute to solutions for those needs as a student and in the future as a dental professional.
In Pursuit of Leadership at UBC
Prior to dental school, I had the very focused goal of becoming a Doctor of Dental Medicine. However, what I had not anticipated entering my first year at UBC Dentistry, was the countless opportunities that would present themselves. Opportunities that would impart new aspirations and a burgeoning set of pursuits amongst my fellow peers and I. During my time in dental school so far, I have pursued experiences in fundamental science, community outreach, internationalism, and camaraderie.
In Pursuit of Science. Over the past three years, I have conducted ongoing research into the wound healing of oral mucosa. I presented my work at UBC Dentistry’s Student Research Competition, and was awarded the Research Day Poster Competition Undergraduate Science Student Award in 2014 and 2016. As a result, I was selected to represent UBC Dentistry at the American Dental Association Foundation’s 50th Annual Dental Students’ Conference (Bethesda, MD, USA), where I visited laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (Washington, DC, USA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, MD, USA). I also had the honor of representing UBC Dentistry at the 2nd Annual Network for Canadian Oral Health Research Workshop (Edmonton, AB, Canada).
In 2015, I was appointed President of the UBC Dentistry Student Research Group (SRG). Additionally, I served a one-year term as the North West Regional Representative for the American Association for Dental Research National Student Research Group. These positions allowed me to advocate for the advancement of student research both at UBC Dentistry and internationally. In the fall of 2015, I was provided with an opportunity to present a progress report to the UBC Dentistry Board of Counselors about my efforts and achievements, the faculty support student research receives, and what the future holds for our SRG.
In Pursuit of Society. As a first year student, I took on the opportunity to become a coordinator at the Vancouver Native Health Society (VNHS), one of UBC Dentistry’s volunteer outreach clinics. That year, my fellow coordinator and I worked hard to refine our process and enhance student involvement. We worked with site staff to integrate electronic records and procure equipment necessary for the execution of broader treatment plans ranging from tooth restorations to endodontic therapy. Through communication, organization, and the energy to keep it all going, we provided our students with empowering mentorship and exceptional levels of clinical experience in a supportive learning environment. That year we treated over 80 patients to free dental care. Having achieved this much in the VNHS clinic, I pursued similar goals in all of UBC Dentistry’s outreach clinics after I was elected Student Chief of Community Outreach for 2015. Working alongside faculty and fellow student coordinators, we were able to treat over 450 patients and had over 225 student volunteers.
In Pursuit of Internationalism. UBC Dentistry hosts hundreds of visiting international students each year exposing its students to countless cultures, social nuances, and academic trains of thought. I’ve made it an effort to host these international visitors whether it’s in clinic demonstrating a procedure, in a case presentation fielding questions and discourse, or after hours just sharing stories. In 2014, I participated in the Academic, Social and Cultural Exchange Program of UBC Dentistry with Chonbuk National University’s School of Dentistry, Jeonju, South Korea. And currently, I am involved in a similar exchange program between UBC Dentistry and Nippon Dental University whose campuses are located in Tokyo and Niigata, Japan. In addition, during the summer of 2015 I took an active part in UBC’s Vancouver Summer Program hosting students from China on campus. At a personal level, these explorations and experiences have opened channels for global conversation; the connections made during these programs establish networks to share ideas, knowledge, and perception, giving rise to creativity and a more accurate worldview.
In Pursuit of Camaraderie. The Dental Undergraduate Society (DUS) is a self-regulated student organization that is committed to advancing the student experience. Throughout the year, UBC Dentistry’s DUS organizes activities ranging from social and sporting events to grad celebrations and guest seminars. In early 2016, I was elected as the DUS President. Our DUS will be pushing to create additional student driven development to further expand dental students’ outlooks and opportunities, and we hope to host some of the most memorable events of the year.
Through all these processes of the last three years, I have learned to “explore, experiment, experience, and expand my daily living, and the architecture of my life” (a thought that was repeatedly emphasized by one of my professors, Dr. Ravindra Shah). In my reflection, it has been a pursuit of life, both noble and fulfilling, in which we give and receive, lead and pursue, help and be helped. Science, community, internationalism, camaraderie and much more lie before us in our careers within the dental profession. And my experience tells me there is no better time to start pursuing it all, than during dental school.
Tuum Est – “It is yours” “It is up to you” – UBC Coat of Arms
Opportunities Abound at the University of Alberta School of Dentistry
The dental profession is continuously evolving, driven by the sharing of ideas and the creation of knowledge through research and development. The University of Alberta is a public research university where students are taught the importance of life-long learning, and continuing education beyond basic degree competencies. With the distinction of having a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research through partnerships both locally and internationally, and with the support of both industry and government, the University of Alberta’s emphasis on research and development aims to solve real world problems that impact the world around us.
As an undergraduate at the University of Alberta, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in a number of activities that lead me to an interest in the dental profession. Early in my studies, I worked in the Department of Continuing Dental Education as an administrative and research assistant where I was able to gain exposure to evidence based best practice models within the profession, new and evolving technologies, and topics entering the forefront of dental research. I was also involved in a research project that explored continuing quality assurance models as applied to continuing professional development. In addition, a student scholarship allowed me to study at the Alberta Diabetes Institute. My research project involved establishing and standardizing a unique cryopreservation protocol specifically developed for neonatal porcine islets and testing the viability of cryopreserved islets. In addition to my activities on campus, I was involved with a number of volunteer organizations, most pertaining to helping youth in our community. I volunteered at the Old Strathcona Youth Society, a street-level resource center for at-risk and homeless youth in Edmonton, and co-founded a non-profit society called Kickstart for Kids Association; an all-encompassing, health-wise education and snack program for underprivileged school aged children in our city.
During my studies in the University of Alberta School of Dentistry I have continued to be involved in several exciting research projects, one exploring the use of neuromodulators in the treatment of gross obesity. I am currently working on two research projects; one exploring condyle head and neck curvature in horizontal and vertical growers determined in CBCT images, and another investigating the use of ELearning Moodle platforms in development of a new Cone Beam computed tomography training program oriented towards private practitioners. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles to present this research at the annual AADR conference. U of A dental students are also able to volunteer at the SHINE Clinic (Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton), where free dental care is provided to youth in need.
The University of Alberta School of Dentistry offers not only an environment of academic excellence and state-of-the-art clinical experience, but also the opportunity to be involved in exciting cutting-edge research. I have gained experience conducting scholarship in the discipline of health sciences that has allowed me to grow not only as a student, but as a researcher and higher level thinker. The skills and knowledge acquired through research will not only help in my dental education, but may someday allow me to give back to my community and improve the lives of others.