Cindy Lewis, RDH, CDA
The field of dentistry has been the vocational focus of my adult life for 28 years. There have been moments when I have considered other careers but my path has always been the dental one; it is my journey.
I am currently a Registered Dental Hygienist, Certified Dental Assistant, Program Coordinator and faculty member for the Dental Assisting program at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George. I am also an alumnus of both the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs at CNC. Therefore, it can certainly be said that my roots are firmly planted in the Northern BC ground.
For 16 years, I practiced as a Certified Dental Assistant in both specialized prosthodontic general practice and specialty periodontal practice. Office management, staff training, CDSBC prosthodontic study club, periodontal surgical assisting and associated study clubs all contributed to a satisfied growth, development and fulfillment as a Certified Dental Assistant, though I still craved more knowledge and education. Growth mindset has always been a core value for me. I am always striving to learn, stretch my mind, capabilities and skillset. Never becoming stagnant. With a significant commitment to oral health already present, my path branched to dental hygiene.
With a strong foundation in the dental community in Prince George and the Northern Region, laddering up to dental hygiene allowed me to experience growth in multiple areas of my career. I embraced the role of Treasurer of the Northern BC Dental Hygiene Society, establishing numerous contacts in both the hygiene and dental communities, locally and regionally. The next step on my journey was to accept the roles of clinical and sessional didactic instruction in the Dental Hygiene program at the College of New Caledonia. This ignited the drive to complete both my Provincial Instructors Diploma and Bachelor of Health Science degree, which is 90% complete. My clinical hygiene background consists of 7 years in a periodontal specialty practice. This provided me the opportunity to experience and attend world class periodontal specific conferences and learning opportunities such as the American Academy of Periodontology AGM and Euro Perio as well as fulfill the role of manager and member of a Spear Study Club. Providing treatment in a periodontal specialty practice not only allowed my skills room to grow and sharpen, but to see first hand the results of effective patient centered care and what is truly possible through dental hygiene process of care.
Momentum, drive, determination, my reputation and strong connections within the local dental community led to my acceptance of a fulltime faculty position within the Dental Assisting program at CNC and within a year, Program Coordinator. As Program Coordinator, I have been able to participate at a planning and implementation level, in community collaborations with Northern Health, UNBC, the Native Friendship Center, SD57 and PGDDS to name a few. I have been a member of the CNC Program Advisory Committee, connecting with local and region stakeholders. For the last 3 years I have had the invaluable opportunity to belong to the BC Dental Assisting Educators Articulation Committee, sharing the concerns, issues and potential for growth of Certified Dental Assistants in BC. Seeing both the creation of the CDA Alliance with BCDHA and the amalgamation of the Colleges have been two milestones and distinct movements forward I am grateful to have witnessed in an active way.
As I transition out of the role of Program Coordinator of the Dental Assisting program, I am intentional in creating more space and time for an active role in my profession as a Registered Dental Hygienist. I am confident that my experience, expertise, community and region connections will contribute to my effectiveness as a BCDHA board member, representing Northern BC and advocating for the dental hygiene profession as well as maintaining and expanding membership. I am grateful and appreciative of the nomination by my colleague Jennifer Scott as I sincerely feel this role would be a natural, successive step on my professional journey.