Dalhousie Dentistry partners with Labrador's Aboriginal communities
Dalhousie's Faculty of Dentistry has recently built partnerships with Labrador's three Aboriginal groups: the Innu, Inuit and NunatuKavut. The faculty is involved in four outreach projects in the region, including two children's oral health surveys. As the school's centennial anniversary approaches, these projects highlight the faculty's three pillars of achievement: student-centered teaching, quality research and outstanding patient care. Dr. Ferne Kraglund, assistant professor in the department of dental clinical sciences, hopes these efforts will have a positive and sustainable impact in the near future.
- The Canadian Institutes of Health Research recently awarded Dalhousie a $387,575 grant for the project Kungatsiajuk: Supporting the Healthy Smiles of NunatuKavut Children. Children 17 and under in six NunatuKavut communities in southeastern Labrador are participating in data collection from April 30 to May 22. Researchers from the Faculty of Dentistry are working collaboratively with project leads from the Faculty of Health Professions and Faculty of Management to carry out this work. The survey will support health promotion, advocacy programs and policy development in the region.
- Data assessment for the Labrador Aboriginal Children's Oral Health Survey is currently underway. The survey was conducted in November in the Inuit communities of Hopedale and Makkovik with 150 children between the ages of three and 19. When the faculty completes its summary report, the report will go to the Nunatsiavut government. Prevention and treatment initiatives will likely follow, Dr. Kraglund says.
- Fourth-year dental students travel to Labrador to provide care for patients in the Inuit communities of Hopedale and Nain through a dental public health elective. The students practice comprehensive dentistry for all ages on a supervised two-week rotation. They treat two patients a day at the Dalhousie clinic, but in Labrador they treat up to 10 and enjoy the opportunity, say students Adam Thompson and Natasha Zinck. Second year dental hygiene students also travel to Labrador to provide care through a population health course.
- The faculty recently carried out a four-week dental service contract with the Innu community of Natuashish under Health Canada. The community's oral health care needs were high and emergency care was the focus of the contract, Dr. Kraglund says.
- "This has kind of exploded in a really good way. For the size of our faculty and for what we're doing, I think four projects is actually really significant. It's pretty amazing that we have such a good connection with Labrador and with all three communities in the Aboriginal population." – Dr. Ferne Kraglund, assistant professor, department of clinical sciences, Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie
- "Having people from the community there [on our research committee] as stakeholders that are able to provide input into the project [in the NunatuKavut communities] is certainly helpful to decrease barriers from the beginning and helps us to prepare for our work within the communities." – Dr. Ferne Kraglund, assistant professor, department of clinical sciences, Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie
- "[The partnerships are] really valuable...because there's a connection with Dalhousie and it's a positive one. It's healthy to garner that positive reinforcement that, yes, we're doing some research, but we're also providing service up there as well, which is really important. They have a good connection with our students, so it's a win-win on both sides." – Dr. Ferne Kraglund, assistant professor, department of clinical sciences, Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie
- "I definitely think [Dalhousie's partnership with Labrador] should continue and will continue. At some point it would be fantastic if...everyone in fourth year were able to go up north. It opens your eyes to the number of...east coast Newfoundland and Labrador [residents] who are isolated and have that access to care barrier. It was an experience I'll take with me for the rest of my life and probably one of the best experiences I've had in all of dental school." – Natasha Zinck, graduate, Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie
- "[The program] opens your eyes to what another culture is like, one I never dreamed I would get to know in my life. It shows you how badly providers are needed in these remote areas of the world. We knew we were performing services for people in need." – Adam Thompson, graduate, Faculty of Dentistry at Dalhousie
|Dr. Debora Matthews |
Dr. Matthews with a patient in Makkovik, Labrador
|Dr. Ferne Kraglund|
Dr. Kraglund with a patient in Makkovik, Labrador
Dentistry faculty travelled to Makkovik, Labrador
- More information on Kungatsiajuk: Supporting the Healthy Smiles of NunatuKavut Children
- More information on the Faculty of Dentistry
- More information on the faculty’s Centennial Celebration
- Marilyn Klein, Communications Officer, Faculty of Dentistry – (902)-494-2264, email@example.com