Year in Review - Report from the Executive to the 2016 AGM

The Federation of Canadian Dentistry Student Associations (FCDSA) has been building on the relationships established during its initial years and establishing concrete action plans for reaching its goals. The 2015-2016 academic year has been a very productive year for the FCDSA and we have been able to achieve our goals and objectives determined by last year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). A summary of our progress has been outlined blew:

 1.       Finance Committee (FC): The FC has finalized a sponsorship package and has held talks with two companies. The goal is to approach only a handful of companies and get proper feedback before reaching out to more companies. Given this strategy, it is hoped to secure more funding for our events in this upcoming year. So far, we have received support from CDSPI ($35,000) for our AGM and NDEB ($4000) to attend their AGM. CDA continues their support by hosting the FCDSA Secretariat and the ACFD was gracious to cover the expenses of sending 3 representatives to their AGM.

2.       Internal Communications Committee (ICC): The ICC has taken series of initiatives to engage dental students on social media by featuring FCDSA leaders on our Facebook page periodically. Business cards have been printed and distributed to all the members of the FCDSA Executive and Committee Chairs. The ICC is also directly involved in National Forum for Dentistry Students web-conferences to identify issues faced by dental students at a national level and develop surveys to gather data. To identify challenges faced by dental students who took the Canadian board this year, the chair of the ICC formulated and distributed a survey to the 4th year Canadian dental students. The results of the survey have been analyzed and will be shared with the NDEB.

 3.       External Communications Committee (ECC): The ECC has incorporated photos from dental student societies into the website. Posters were designed and circulated to each representatives at the beginning of the year. The ECC incorporated the logo into the website and also developed a website survey that will be circulated once further updates and development of the website are complete. The ECC committee’s goals in the future are to translate all of the website content to French, continue to develop the pages that are lacking content and to increase the visibility of the FCDSA in all of the Canadian dental schools through the website and Facebook page.

4.       Dental Student Conference Working Group (DSC WG): The working group held a number of meetings which included meetings with the last organizers of the IDSC, the FCDSA’s President and the Chair of the committee. From the meetings held, the working group was able to produce a summary of statistics and come up with recommendations and an improved model to be presented to the council at the AGM. Once approved by the council, the next step for our working group will be to materialize a new improved model for such conference. It is crucial to open communication channels with our partners such as ACFD, NDEB, CDA and CDSPI to explore collaborative opportunities for this project.

5.       National Forum for Dentistry Students: The FCDSA has taken steps to connect members of each dental student societies directly via the Zoom video conferencing platform. The first National Forum for Dentistry Students was held in March. The goal is to promote discussions and allow dental student leaders to bring up issues and come up with solutions/recommendations. The FCDSA will be directly involved in such talks and will take the lead on issues impacting dental students at a national level.

6.       Virtual Town Hall Meetings: The FCDSA has been working closely with John O’Keefe (CDA Oasis) to produce useful content for dental students. The first project involves bringing a panel of experts and dental students to discuss useful ethical cases. The FCDSA has partnered with the Student Professionalism and Ethics Association (SPEA) to take part in this project. In collaboration with the NDEB, a town hall meeting regarding the Canadian boards is planned to take place in the beginning of school year as well.

In conclusion, this academic year has been an overall success and progress has been made in meeting our goals and objectives. The next academic year is expected to be even more fruitful with new sponsors, events, identifying and managing issues, and developing useful content for dentistry students. In order to fully take advantage of our potential, it is crucial to have maximum active participation from all council members by becoming an active member of one or more committees.

Submitted to the FCDSA Council, June 1, 2016
Khashayar Gharavi (Toronto '17), FCDSA President

Report on the CDA Annual General Meeting

I had the great opportunity to attend the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Annual General Meeting which was held in Ottawa on April 14-15, 2016. I represented the FCDSA at the AGM, and also had the pleasure to attend the CDA Awards Luncheon and the CDA President’s Installation Dinner.

At the AGM, the CDA highlighted the 25th anniversary of CDAnet, a system organized by the CDA that enables dentists to send patients' dental benefit claims to insurance companies electronically. Two major issues discussed were:

  • The increasing number of dentists, the deteriorating economy, and the changing landscape of dental benefits;
  • The violation of patients’ privacy from invasive claims verifications.

Voting on presented motions was done by the voting representatives. Then, members of the different provincial dental associations, the Canadian military as well as other dental groups all gave a brief speech presenting their projects and issues.

I had the opportunity to briefly address the members, as representative of the FCDSA, about the progress that we have made as a federation as well as the obstacles that we are facing. Some of the points that I brought up included:

  • Our main goals for the year: increase awareness of the FCDSA among dental students, seek sponsors, and start connecting dental student societies;
  • The creation of the National Forum for Dentistry Student Issues;
  • Our most significant emerging issue: the organization of the dental student conference.

The meeting was concluded with the appointment of Dr. Randall Croutze as the new president of the CDA. The CDA Awards Luncheon recognized Canadian dentists who have made significant contributions to the profession. At the CDA President’s Installation Dinner, many representatives of the CDA approached me and congratulated and encouraged the FCDSA members for our involvement in organized dentistry.

Submitted to the FCDSA Council, June 2016
Ivy Fangyu Lin (McGill ’17), Regional Councillor – Eastern Canada