DISCOVER IQALUIT THROUGH THE EYES OF CAITLIN
Caitlin Mccoid has been a dental assistant for 8 years. Prior to that, she was involved in administration and coordination in the dental field.
So you could say that Caitlin has a lot of experience on the floor, as well as behind the curtain; but for her, it wasn't a big enough challenge! Once she finished her studies, the cold didn't stop her and Caitlin went straight to work on an extraordinary adventure: helping and preventing oral health problems amongst the Iqaluit population.
But what is a dental assistant?
A typical day in Caitlin's life consists of assisting the dentist with extractions, crowns, and oral exams. She also deals mostly with children and is in charge of sedated patients.
Braving the cold to save lives in Nunavut
As Caitlin graduated from university, she knew in her heart that she wanted to pay it forward. To give back everything she had learned and share her knowledge to help others. Whether it was in education or in prevention - specifically with youth. After a little research, she learned that Nunavut had the highest decay rate per capita in Canada. And off she went! She headed to Nunavut where she could join her sister who was already living there.
Facing many challenges
From the start, Caitlin realized fairly quickly that oral health was not a priority among the Iqaluit people. Whether it was a lack of information, time, or materials; the result was still glaring. The majority of children are not able to take care of their health and their teeth, frequently due to parents who do not prioritize such decisions. In addition, dentists (who are not local) only come twice a year to take care of the whole Island of Baffin.
The result? Hundreds of children are waiting several months for treatment. Caitlin is faced with a huge number of children who, before the age of 5, have to undergo full mouth extractions under sedation. Caitlin fights hard to help the families in her care and offers them tools and information to prevent this type of problem, which is unfortunately all too common in this northern village. She is constantly fighting to educate patients of all ages to prevent this type of problem before it is too late.
Nunavut - a mission that interests you?
Whether it is the beauty that draws you or the impact that your presence as a healthcare professional can have on the lives of these people (and even on your own) - there are many reasons, according to Caitlin, to embark on an adventure of the genre. For those who want to get involved in a community in a meaningful way, challenge themselves, push their limits and share their knowledge, Iqaluit and the northern Canadian cities are areas that need your help.
Garde-Malade was infinitely lucky to discover Caitlin, her personality and her mission in Nunavut and we are all very touched by the daily actions she takes to really bring a wave of change in the village of Baffin. If any of you are interested in this kind of project and adventure after reading this article, please let us know!
Thank you Caitlin for your dedication and love for your profession (...and for our scrubs)!