Addressing the historical lack of women in Dentistry

My name is Tasha, and I am a dental student at the University of Alberta. For my stretch, I have decided to work closer to home. As a dental student, I noticed that there is a lack of female mentorship due to the historical lack of women in the program. According to the ADEA, just 50 years ago, a dental class would consist of only 1.4% females.

As a result, I co-created the Women Empowerment Lunch and Learn where a different female leader each month speaks of her experience as a leader. For my stretch, I am creating the Women in Dentistry Mentorship Conference, projected to take place in October. We will have a panel discussion, then a round-table workshop inspired by the Peter Lougheed mentorship roundtable events. Through this, I am hoping female dental students and recent graduates can have an active role in brainstorming a mentorship program, while having a chance to network and work together with female members of the community. I even managed to approve this as a continuing education course.

To prepare, I have been conducting a literature search on the history of women in dentistry, contacting panel members, applying for funding, and preparing catering. Through this experience, I have received the help from many mentors myself from the alumni center, dental faculty, and PLLC staff. I am very grateful for the help I have received and excited for what this conference will bring.

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I am very excited to be bringing in some very accomplished speakers for this event: Drs. Carol Martin, Sarah Hulland, Fern Leavens, Maryam Amin and Cheryl Cable. I successfully received an Edmonton Council Foundation Youth Grant of $2300 for this event as well. So far, the planning for this event has been running smoothly, and can successfully say I am getting a stretch out of this experience.

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