Gift From The Heart Well-supported at CNC
Prince George, B.C. – Several people took advantage of the opportunity to head to the College of New Caledonia on Saturday for some free work offered by a large group of dental hygienists who volunteered their time.
CNC teamed up with the Northern B.C. Dental Hygiene Society to participate in the 9th annual Gift from the Heart. That’s a day set aside for registered dental hygienists right across Canada to provide preventative dental hygiene care services to people who need it most, the under-served and neglected who cannot afford dental hygiene care.
Karen Lange, the Dental Studies Curriculum Co-ordinator, says “when we heard about this event we decided that it would be an awesome opportunity to partner with our local dental hygienists’ society to volunteer services for our patients here at CNC. Our Dental Hygiene program was suspended (due to budget cuts) in 2015, so our patients haven’t had the opportunity to get preventative dental care since our last set of students finished in June, 2015.”
“So, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to say thank-you to those patients because we can’t run our program without them, and to provide care for them at no cost as a thank-you for their many years of patronage here at the college and as such we organized some volunteers to come in and provide those services.”
The volunteers “are local dental hygienists from the community so we got 15 dental hygienist volunteers, a few certified dental assistants volunteering their time and one local dentist as well, Dr. Greg Ames who provided his time.”
Patients with a record of treatment at the CNC Dental Clinic over several years were contacted and had appointments booked for Saturday. Lange says “services were limited to preventative oral care, so we were doing an oral assessment on those patients and then providing any dental hygiene services that they need. So essentially cleaning their teeth for them, providing some fluoride, some instruction and education and a dental examination if they needed one.”
Lange said “we just want to say a big thank-you to the Prince George community and our past patient pool for their support over the years. They’re a large part of why the program is coming back and we hope to see them back next year when we intake our students and our students are starting to see patients again.”
“And also, thank-you to our local volunteers, we couldn’t have put this event on without the local dental community coming in.”
She says they may be doing this event against next year, it remains to be seen. “This was sort of an idea to bridge the gap between lack of services for our patients. Our program will be up and running and our students will be starting to see patients next January.” She says the Dental Hygiene program resumes this September but at the outset “they have a pre-clinical term and gather the skills that they need to start seeing patients. So very slowly we’ll be asking for those patients to come back and support our students for dental hygiene care.”
Regarding the re-instatement of the program Lange says “we’re absolutely thrilled to be coming back in the fall. We’ve received excellent support from our administration and the community to bring the program back. Lots of voices were involved in getting that program back so we’ve been working very hard in renewing our curriculum and putting together a brand new program so that we can re-launch it in the fall. We’re absolutely thrilled at coming back.”