Closing dental programs a miscalculation

We are writing this letter in regards to the impending abrupt closure of the Dental Studies Programs at the College of New Caledonia.

We are strongly urging the President and the Board of Governors of CNC, to reconsider the closure of the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs. Both of these programs represent jewels in the dental education community and are involved in serving the entire Northern half of the province with well-trained dental professionals. Closure will create a lack of dental assistants and hygienists in our region. Closure will also marginalize many disadvantaged patients that have utilized the vitally important clinical services provided by these programs for many years.

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The 7 year accreditation status that has been granted to the CNC Dental Studies Programs, is the highest standard afforded to Canadian dental educational programs, reinforcing the quality of these programs within our own community. In combination with the 100% success rate of graduating students passing the national board examinations, as well as consistently scoring higher in every subject category compared to other dental programs across Canada, it is absolutely clear that to close such accomplished programs would be a miscalculation of the greatest proportions.

It is of utmost importance to consider the educational expansion made by the UBC School of Medicine, embracing Prince George as an outreach campus, and using Prince George as a model to facilitate medical training, medical care to those in Northern communities, and enabling the ultimate retention of medical professionals in the North as a result of the establishment of local training at UNBC. CNC itself has facilitated the retention of dental professionals in Northern communities for many years, by having had the foresight to train our students within our own region of the province. CNC should be congratulated for having embarked on the decision to provide the Dental Assisting Program 46 years ago, and the Dental Hygiene Program 28 years ago. We implore CNC to make the decision to retain these programs, so we can once again congratulate you for your insightfulness. The benefits of doing so are too great to consider the proposed alternative. The impact of closure of the Denta l Hygiene and Dental Assisting Programs would be felt significantly by many, and the consequences to our Northern communities would be great as well. As such, we are hopeful that these disheartening proposals will be reconsidered.

Dr. Kerim Ozcan and Dr. Sheila Duke

Prince George

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