CDHA Scholarship Program

CDHA is pleased to announce that five registered dental hygienists have been selected as recipients of a 2021 CDHA scholarship. These outstanding members, who have chosen to advance their education, have demonstrated excellence and commitment in keeping with CDHA’s mission to support its members in providing quality preventive and therapeutic oral health care and health promotion for the Canadian public.

Congratulations to the following 2021 recipients!

Cheryl Arntson

Cheryl graduated from the University of Alberta in 1987 with a Diploma in Dental Hygiene and has worked primarily in private practice settings. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to the dental hygiene profession and lifelong learning. She served as the coordinator for the development of a dental hygiene degree program at the University of Alberta in 2000 and is currently a dental hygiene clinical instructor there. She has volunteered as a dental hygienist both locally, with Homeless Connect and the Boyle McCauley Dental Clinic in Edmonton, and internationally, in Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico. Cheryl is also active in her community, fostering animals for an animal rescue society and serving in her church. She enjoys spending time with her husband, her three children, and daughter-in-law.

In 2019, Cheryl graduated from MacEwan University with a Bachelor of Arts with distinction in sociology. Currently, she is enrolled at the University of Alberta in an interdisciplinary MSc (dental hygiene and sociology) program. Her goal is to combine her experience as a registered dental hygienist with her passion for social justice. Her research focuses on exploring how dental clinic spaces consider the populations they serve.

Cheryl credits her dedication to her profession and learning to the leadership examples set by her many dental hygiene mentors including Eunice Edgington, Brenda Walker, Jan Pimlott, Louann Keenan, and Sharon Compton.

Alysha Bailey

Alysha Bailey is a dental hygienist with an interest in professional regulation. After graduating from the University of Alberta’s Dental Hygiene Program (DipDH 2008, BScDH 2009), Alysha worked both in clinical practice and as a compliance advisor with the regulatory body in Alberta. Working in regulation afforded Alysha the opportunity to learn more about the legal aspects of the dental hygiene profession. To better understand how the law affects professional practice, Alysha is now attending the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Law’s Juris Doctor program. Her goal is to complete law school and continue to be involved with the dental hygiene profession in a different capacity. Instead of working with clients clinically or helping dental hygienists understand their professional obligations, Alysha is hopeful that, when she completes her studies, she can serve the profession through advocacy and regulation with her specialized set of skills.

Christie Daye

Christie earned a Bachelor of Science with a specialization in dental hygiene from the University of Alberta in 2009. She began her career in private practice and gained experience as a dental hygiene coach for dental office teams. As a practitioner and mentor, she demonstrated commitment to professional growth, receiving advanced training in restricted activities of local anesthetic and prescribing, as well as atraumatic restorative therapy and soft tissue diode laser use.

In 2019, Christie began teaching part time in the Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Alberta and immediately found this role to be both fulfilling and challenging. Currently, she is appointed as a Comprehensive Care Team Dental Hygiene Lead. She has gained valuable experience as a clinical instructor in a variety of practice settings including long-term care and with marginalized populations at the Boyle McCauley Dental Clinic. Additionally, she teaches preclinical and clinical periodontics to first- to fourth-year dentistry students.

Advanced studies in the Master of Education in Health Sciences Education (MHSE) Program at the University of Alberta have facilitated her growth as a health science educator. In the future, Christie hopes to contribute to dental hygiene program evaluation and curriculum development. Specific areas of interest include interdisciplinary collaboration between dental and dental hygiene students, curriculum development in long-term care for dental hygiene baccalaureate students, and the integration of strategies into clinical dental hygiene education to develop undergraduate students’ emotional intelligence.

Natyra Haxhiavdija

Natyra, a dental hygiene practitioner in Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), is pursuing a Master of Science in Craniofacial Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC), focusing on oral cancer prevention. She volunteers regularly with the BC Oral Cancer Prevention Program and joined their Next Gen Oral Dysplasia clinic as a clinician and clinical coordinator, where she helps provide free oral cancer screenings and works with a team of specialists to monitor those with dysplasia or other pre-cancers.

While an undergraduate student in the UBC Dental Hygiene Degree Program, Natyra provided dental hygiene care to various populations, including frail elders in a residential care setting, adult refugees and new immigrants in a community setting, Indigenous populations in temporary housing, and people with a history of incarceration and drug addiction. Born in Kosovo, Natyra immigrated to Canada as a refugee at the age of five. Having experienced, both personally and first-hand, the health disparities among vulnerable populations, she strives for a more in-depth understanding of oral health-related topics. Her future goals are to combine her clinical background with a research career and improve oral health practices, strategies, and screening technology to better prevent and manage oral conditions and cancers. When not working, studying or volunteering, Natyra can be found hiking Vancouver's beautiful trails, biking around Stanley Park, and watching more TV than is healthy.

Kyla Oshanek

Kyla Oshanek, DHP(C), is passionate about life-long learning and advancing the dental hygiene profession. She started her dental hygiene journey at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia. There she obtained a Diploma of Arts and Science Studies and a Diploma of Dental Hygiene before completing a Bachelor of Dental Science (Dental Hygiene) at the University of British Columbia. Prior to becoming a dental hygienist, she studied political science and Canadian history, which drive her interest in the historical, social, and political climate of oral health care in Canada. To this end, Kyla is completing a Master of Applied Health Sciences focusing on health policy and equity, trauma-informed care, and evidence-based leadership. Her work experience spans community and volunteer settings in Canada and abroad, independent dental hygiene, general dentistry, and involvement with the British Columbia Dental Hygienists’ Association and the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia.