It is with much surprise and an equal amount of disbelief that I and many of my medical and dental colleagues have learned about the discussions regarding the dental hygiene and dental assisting programs at the College of New Caledonia.
These programs have existed for 25 and 40 years respectively.
Apparently an imminent decision is pending regarding possible closure of these two programs at the college. Talk about a retrogressive, destructive step into the past.
I have discussed this matter with former board members of the college who are equally aghast with this potential decision.
This must surely be the most shortsighted potential decision in the history of the college.
In the face of the absolute evidence that local training means local retention of skilled professionals and the equally crystal clear evidence that almost every dental office and therefore the dental health of the citizens of Prince George and Northern B.C. depend entirely on the training of these professionals.
Does anyone really believe that the program will be resurrected once closed?
"Perhaps we can sell you a bridge" Do not for a moment believe this.
The Northern Medical Society has with its concerned allies, and might I say with the full cooperation of our local MLAs and civic leaders, for years now been making the point clearly and with good international evidence that ONLY local training keeps professionals local.
We have worked diligently to develop programs for training of professionals in Prince George.
We have a medical program.
We have a cancer clinic, expanded nursing programs, amongst many others.
Why would a Vancouver or Kelowna native come to spend their lives with us in the fabulous north without family, friends, connections and the like?
Please let's just be realistic.
What binds citizens to their community?
It's educational opportunity, employment and work-life satisfaction. It is also imperative that the board of the college, the president and members of the executive should be appointed from our talented pool of local citizens.
Please note that dental health has significant consequences for population health and is an important part of both physical and mental well-being. This decision is not a trivial matter and should not be tolerated by citizens concerned by the health and welfare of our population.
Please get involved and be noticed. This decision must be reversed.
Dr. Jan Burg