Optimism is contagious

Beautiful New Hazelton, B.C. With credit to http://www.newhazelton.ca/.

Beautiful New Hazelton, B.C. With credit to http://www.newhazelton.ca/.

Sandie Ferguson has a unique perspective on dental hygiene because of where she lives and the work she does. She lives in New Hazelton, has had opportunity to work at Ridge Memorial Hospital in their dental clinic, and is the owner of an independent dental hygiene practice.

Ridge Memorial is a unique hospital in that it is a not-for-profit merger between the United Church and the Northern Health Authority.  The dental clinic, while not totally non-profit, has a mandate to accept the First Nations health insurance provided through the Department of Indian Affairs (DIA) and not charge any extra cost to patients.  Generally speaking DIA insurance is not widely accepted due to a variety of explicit and cumbersome records keeping requirements and other regulations. For example, independent dental hygienists are unable to accept this insurance at all. The fact that the dental clinic at Ridge Memorial accepts patients with DIA insurance is a coup for the community the clinic serves.

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A conversation with new graduate, Jennifer Vandergaag

jen vanJennifer Vandergaag graduated from the UBC Faculty of Dentistry Dental Hygiene Program in May 2013. In planning for university, Jen initially had thought she wanted to be a nurse but circumstances changed and she made the decision to enter the dental hygiene program. “I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to be a dental hygienist. My intention was to be a physiotherapist, or a dentist, but I wanted a practical undergraduate degree with a career focus. My Mom spent a good portion of her career working in dental offices and I knew from her what a good career dental hygiene was, so I decided to take my Mom’s advice and apply to the dental hygiene program. I’m so glad I did, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Things really have just fallen into place perfectly.”

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