Message from our Founding Members

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2013, CDHA recognized the 100 charter members from our humble beginnings in 1963–1964 and paid special tribute to the eight founding members who still maintain their memberships today. On behalf of all CDHA members, past and present, the board of directors thanks and congratulates each of these women for their many years of support, loyalty and commitment. We are honoured they have maintained their relationship with CDHA, contributing in a most invaluable manner to the growth and strength of the association and profession, past, present and future. We are grateful for their longevity and proud that they have been part of where we have been and continue to be a part of where we are going.

Anne Bosy

Being a member of CDHA was and continues to be an educational and interesting experience. My most active involvement with the association began around 1976 as the president of ODHA and a director for CDHA and continued to around 1995. These were intense years for my colleagues and me as we developed the case for self-regulation for dental hygienists in Ontario. We met with government, dental groups, and dental hygienists so that we could establish a non-confrontational relationship with them and move forward to setting up our governing body. There was much anxiety as self-regulation for dental hygienists was new and sometimes unsettling for members within all groups. Together with Ailsa Wood, Carole Ono, and Pat Johnson, we researched and wrote many documents to build our case and forwarded these documents to other members whose role was to meet with the government. Imagine the exhilaration when we were finally successful! Some of my other activities were my long-term involvement with the Standards Committee for Dental Materials and as chairman of the Legislation Committee, where I learned much as an academic and as a manager. In retrospect, CDHA was instrumental in shaping the path of my professional life.

Margaret Berry MacLean

Oh dear, to go back over so many years means recalling a lot! Our first convention was held in Edmonton in association with the Alberta Dental Association conference, and we never looked back. I recall presenting our draft constitution and developing a code of ethics and the pride of the first graduating dental hygiene class from the University of Alberta. We were a neophyte organization but with many dedicated people involved. Our profession and association have grown from the few to the many — to 17,000 in fact! Certainly much has changed over the years: equipment, the way we practice and many other things, but the constant has been the forethought of the progressive people who have kept driving change. I certainly congratulate CDHA on our growth and ability to move forward, and especially applaud the support and involvement of all our members. I wish

Marg Miller

CDHA membership provided me with many wonderful experiences but my most treasured will always be the amazing professional women I met, conversed with, dined with and learned from. Every meeting, conference or informal gathering was filled with women eager to advance their profession and the professional organization. I always felt such optimism and pride afterwards. I kept every newsletter, brochure, and journal for decades. In 1978 I became part of the CDHA executive as Education Chairperson and attended meetings across the country. I have always been grateful for the opportunity to learn more about my country in this way. I was also CDHA's voting representative on the Canadian Dental Association's Council on Education. The committee met in Ottawa every June, and being a part of it was very beneficial to CDHA. I am very proud of how far we have come in 50 years and especially proud of the eight founding members who still maintain their membership and interest in CDHA.

Marlene Bulas

Being involved with CDHA for fifty years has been a very rewarding experience. When I reflect on the numerous significant changes that have occurred in the dental hygiene profession over these years, I am filled with gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the CDHA executive, directors, and members. Enabling our profession to stay current through continuing education, meetings, and professional support has facilitated our roles as vital members of the oral health care profession. CDHA has also reached out to communities through the media, thereby educating the public on oral health issues and improving public perception and respect for the dental hygienist. The diversity of our population, with a wide range of cultures, age groups, and socio-economic levels, has also been addressed by CDHA based on seeing people as individuals with their own specific needs. I am proud to be a long-time member of CDHA for its continuous support, caring, and progressive manner of meeting the challenges of our profession in this rapidly changing world.

Carol Kline

Watching and participating in the raising of the CDHA "baby" from birth (volunteers generating the idea of a national organization) and then in developing the first constitution and bylaws and now, 50 years later, seeing a mature "grown-up" (a full-functioning organization of professionals, with members across Canada working together for the betterment of dental hygiene and dental hygienists) has been a thrill for me. My affiliation with colleagues across Canada through meetings, conferences, and just plain get-togethers has continued to stimulate and generate enthusiasm for me "to still be involved." What a treat to meet and work with professional, caring, and interested colleagues. A highlight for me in CDHA was my position as chair of the Manpower and Utilization Committee (and its many name changes), which led to my involvement in the Working Group on the Practice of Dental Hygiene and ultimately precipitated the formation of today's dental hygienist provincial regulatory bodies. Most recently I was involved with rewriting (again) the Code of Ethics, and I appreciated this further experience with interested and dedicated CHDA members.

Marnie Forgay

CDHA has been fundamental to the establishment and development of the dental hygiene profession in Canada. It has given me many opportunities to be associated with that development and for my own personal growth. Primarily, these opportunities have related to dental hygiene education. I was a long-time member of CDHA's Council on Education, promoting standards and assisting new and existing programs. For many years I represented CDHA on the Commission on Dental Accreditation. With CDHA sponsorship I organized the first Canadian workshop on clinical dental hygiene teaching. I have worked with CDHA and other groups on several important professional issues, including legislation, national certification, competencies, and practice standards. With several other CDHA leaders I was a member (chair) of the Federal Government Working Group on the Practice of Dental Hygiene, whose landmark activities included the first-ever conference on dental hygiene research. I was associated with the establishment of CDHA education grants and its fostering of dental hygiene research. I am a CDHA past president and a life member. It has been a privilege to be part of CDHA for half a century and to be associated with its crucial role in the development of our profession.

Patricia M. Johnson

In reflecting on my involvement with CDHA over the past 50 years, while numerous aspects come to mind, three are predominant. First is my gratitude for the experiences and opportunities it afforded me, not just to work with and learn from colleagues across Canada and elsewhere, but also, as president and in other roles, to speak with members of our profession's "core"— those on the front lines who provide quality dental hygiene services for the Canadian public and in whose interests we advocate. Second is the challenge in the early years of establishing the credibility of and acceptance for our delegates, who represented the goals and needs of Canadian dental hygienists interprofessionally and at government and public forums. This was further exacerbated by the fact that one group was often the primary employer of the other and we frequently were the sole females at the table. A third and more positive recollection is the shared excitement when, over fifty years ago, our small group worked closely to establish a national association. Imagine my delight at seeing CDHA evolve and mature into a strong voice for the profession. Dental hygienists, though few in numbers, were dispersed across Canada and, given that the private dental office was, and remains, the most prevalent workplace, they work essentially in isolation from each other. CDHA and its provincial counterparts provide a respected, unifying professional identity. And CDHA continues to advance dental hygiene, today and into the future.

Carole Ono

It is amazing that 50 years have gone by since a small group of dental hygienists across Canada founded the CDHA. Since its inception in 1963, CDHA has grown and developed into a highly regarded professional organization. As the cornerstone of the dental hygiene profession, CDHA has provided support and guidance to enable me to engage in activities both for personal growth and further development of our profession. In the 60s and 70s, I had the privilege of serving as membership/treasurer and director on the CDHA board. Later on I had opportunities to work with forward-thinking colleagues in milestone activities such as the Working Group on the Practice of Dental Hygiene in Canada, provincial legislative and steering committees leading to self-governance for dental hygiene in Ontario, and coordinating the development of the first direct entry dental hygiene program in a community college in Ontario. While much of my professional involvement was related to education and legislation in Ontario, these activities were very much supported and influenced by the national association. I am most appreciative of the many challenging and fulfilling opportunities I have enjoyed in meeting and working with progressive dental hygienists across Canada. These experiences have enriched both my life and career in dental hygiene.