Upon hearing about the decision to close the dental assisting and dental hygienist programs at CNC, I felt you should be aware of the impact such programs have had on our northern communities.
I grew up in Prince George and still remember the excitement in the dental community when there was now a dental hygiene program available in the north. Twenty five years ago, I moved from Prince George to Fort St. John. At that time, I was the only private-practice dental hygienist in the entire Peace Region. Over the years I have seen the numbers grow significantly to the point where most dental offices employ at least one, and many employ several dental hygienists. I strongly believe that the CNC program has played an important role in this as many of the CNC graduates stayed in the North. My role in the dental office often involved hiring staff (both DH and CDA), and being able to hire someone who grew up in the community is significant for employee retention.
I can also comment on the quality of graduates from the CNC program. We have seen a consistently high level of professionalism and knowledge from these graduates, and the CNC diploma has been the deciding factor on several occasions.
I strongly feel the importance of keeping health care programs available to students in the North. This opens up many opportunities for students who may not be able to relocate great distances to obtain higher education.
Health care in the North always struggles to recruit skilled professionals and to be eliminating one of our success stories seems to be ill advised. We need to support our rural and northern residents, and the ability to have higher learning available in the North is one of those very important support systems. This filters down to the health care in general as we retain those from the North at a much better rate than those from southern locales.
Please strongly consider the impact that this decision will have on the health of our Northern communities.