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Gimme 5! North End Community Health Clinic Edition
For this edition of Gimme 5, we sit down with Dental Hygiene instructor Teanne MacCallum to find out more about what it's like working at the North End Community Health Clinic.
1. Tell us about the dental hygiene program students participate in at the NECHC every week.
The second-year dental hygiene rotation started in September of 2012. In conjunction with the North End Community Health Centre, we wanted to reach out to this community, who has had little to no access to dental care in the past and provide basic oral health services. On Monday afternoons and all-day Friday, we are at the clinic offering hygiene/debridement services. There are also students from DDS4 there on Wednesdays along with Dr. Chris Lee and Dr. Ferne Kraglund providing basic dental treatment.
2. What do the students think of working in the clinic?
Every Friday that I'm at the NECHC with the second-year dental hygiene students, I hear them discussing how much they love this rotation. They feel that they learn a lot from their patients, both from a dental standpoint and on a more personal level. More than once I have seen tears in my students’ eyes because a patient has been so thankful for the work they provided that day.
3. What is one thing that you take away every week from working at the clinic?
There is never just one thing, but I always leave the NECHC feeling thankful, rewarded and privileged. When most people are dreading going to work on Fridays, I’m excited to once again work among this wonderful community. I feel privileged that this community has accepted and can trust the Dal Dentistry team. It’s very rewarding to be able to help these patients out in some little way.
4.Why do you think it's important to give back the community through outreach programs such as this?
We see people giving back all the time, and a lot of that happens in other countries. We are always hearing of some place or another that needs our help, and while this is true, we have so many people right here in our home communities that also need our help. I believe every person deserves to have access to care so we as health professionals need to use our skills to help those that are in need through these outreach programs. Every time a child tells you that they don't have a toothbrush home, you realize how great the need is to give back.
5. Are there any specific stories or memorable patients you would like us to know about?
We have seen so many patients in the past couple of years, but just the other day we saw a gentleman who was 60 years of age and at that appointment we discover that it was his first hygiene visit in his life. While this is an awesome learning experience for the students, no one should have to go that long without having access to dental care.
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