Dental hygiene alumni duo win international social responsibility award

Jade Lavallee and Hikari Shiga, both BDSc (DH) 2014 graduates, won first place for the 2015 Social Responsibility Award from the International Federation of Dental Hygienists and the Global Child Dental Fund. This global competition recognizes dental hygienists who initiate oral health interventions aimed at improving the oral health of disadvantaged children.

Hikari Shiga (L) and Jade Lavallee

Hikari Shiga (L) and Jade Lavallee

Their winning project was a children’s tooth-brushing program in rural townships of South Africa, which introduced a sustainable model of oral health promotion through the education of local school teachers.

Lavallee, who is now undertaking a master’s degree in Craniofacial Science, started the project in 2013 while completing the dental hygiene baccalaureate program at UBC.

She had been to South Africa a few years earlier so was aware of the need for oral health promotion, and subsequently contacted Dental Wellness Trust, a charity based in London, UK, about implementing a program in the townships. Lavallee spent much of 2013 in South Africa, as well as some time each year since, to continue with the project.

Shiga—a Terrace, BC, dental hygienist who completed her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene online through UBC’s degree completion option—reached out to Lavallee about how to get involved. Shiga joined the project in Cape Town in late 2014, and participated in delivering the tooth-brushing program into early 2015.

Though this project falls outside any UBC program, Lavallee still carves time out from her graduate work to continue volunteering.

Click here for more information about the award.

Click here for more details about the project.