How has membership in ADHA/CRDHA affected me personally and professionally?
That was 25 years ago and there has not been a moment of regret yet. My initial involvement started as editor for the Northern Alberta Dental Hygienists Society (NADHS) newsletter, “Northern Hylites”. This then progressed to NADHS Chairperson, ADHA Board Director and ultimately 1992-93 ADHA President. My volunteer involvement has continued on various provincial committees throughout the years, and was also instrumental in my transition to working with CDHA on a national level from 1993 to 1999 (including 1997-98 CDHA President).
As I reflect on the above professional accomplishments and others, if it were not for the support and empowerment of the many incredible people I collaborated with on the ADHA Board and Committees, and their faith in my abilities to lead and make a difference, I know my career and professional path would not have been as diverse, engaging and fulfilling as it has been.
What do I see as ADHA/CRDHA’s legacy?
During my Presidential year, ADHA was in its infancy as the legal regulatory body for dental hygiene, given only two years had passed since we earned the right to be a self regulating profession on November 1, 1990. Brenda Walker was our one and only employee, ADHA’s office consisted of shared office space in a small strip mall and there were a total of 816 active members on the register. Issues we dealt with at time included work on the new regulations, by-laws and policies; the Board was even considering the development of a survey to determine members’ interest in a local anaesthetic module and orthodontic module!
Since that time, I have witnessed ADHA/CRDHA become a strong (and at times, envied) leader and advocate for dental hygiene in Canada. They have faced what may have seemed to be insurmountable challenges, but through the perseverance and dedication of its staff and Boards, the final outcomes have been positive for our members (e.g. removal of the supervision clause in the regulations) and the public.
Given’s its history, ADHA/CRDHA’s legacy most certainly has to be the dedication and vision of its leaders over the past 50 years, whose groundbreaking accomplishments advanced the dental hygiene profession so that it can be recognized by the its members, the public, and the government as a vital, enduring and progressive health profession.
What is a favorite dental hygiene memory?
This is a very difficult question due to the “longevity” of my career so far. Certainly, finishing off my degree in 2004 as an “older student” was significant. However, as numerous and varied as the memories are, what I remember with fondness, appreciation and much gratitude are the dental hygienists who I have had the privilege of meeting, and who have become close friends and confidantes – these include classmates, former instructors and mentors, and colleagues from near and far away.
What words of advice do I have for our newest and future CRDHA members?
New members, and especially new graduates, must remember that they are representatives of dental hygiene and with that comes expectations to behave in a professional manner at all times when dealing with clients, colleagues, the public, and their employers. As well, they need to be true to themselves, always strive for excellence, and remember, …Behind every great smile is a DENTAL HYGIENIST!