November 2, 2021 —
Ex-physio has ‘large objective’ to enhance entry to dental care
Terrell Okotcha has skilled the extreme ache of being injured on the soccer discipline.
However he says the agony he suffered from untreated dental points was worse.
“I’ve had a torn ACL [knee ligament],” recollects the previous high-school athlete. “I’ve had musculoskeletal ache. However dental ache may be 10-out-of-10 ache.”
The Winnipeg-born Okotcha is a first-year dental scholar on the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry. When he was rising up, his immigrant mother and father have been centered on necessities for the household. He didn’t obtain the oral well being care he now realizes he wanted.
He doesn’t blame his mother and father, however he had esthetic, useful and decay-related dental issues that affected his self-confidence as a teen and younger grownup. Now that he’s had orthodontic work and in depth dental remedy, he’s captivated with reaching others who want entry to dental care.
“A giant objective of mine is to boost oral well being consciousness and assist people throughout the board have good entry to care,” he says. “I need to assist individuals locally take management of their very own oral well being.”
The 29-member Dentistry Class of 2025, to which Okotcha belongs, and the eight-member Worldwide Dentist Diploma Program Class of 2023 have been formally welcomed to the Dr. Gerald Niznick Faculty of Dentistry on the Opening Meeting in September. The 26-member Dental Hygiene Class of 2023 was additionally welcomed at its personal meeting.
For Okotcha, an inspiring spotlight of the occasion was a speech by Niznick himself. The alumnus and dental implant pioneer, the school’s largest benefactor, spoke through Zoom to the incoming college students.
“He’s a world-renowned dental practitioner. It was like seeing a famous person and having him handle you personally,” says Okotcha. “It was positively an honour.”
Certainly one of Niznick’s items of recommendation was “Be a lifelong scholar.” That resonated with Okotcha, who graduated from UM in 2019 together with his grasp’s in bodily remedy, practised for lower than a yr, took extra undergraduate programs with the objective of getting accepted into dentistry, and has now attained that objective.
“Physio is a superb occupation,” he says. “However I felt that dentistry would in the end fulfil me extra.”
Okotcha says his physiotherapy background has transferable advantages to dentistry. “There’s a pure tendency as a dentist to hunch over and spherical your again. I’m super-mindful of ergonomics, and I believe that immediately interprets.
“We additionally realized rather a lot in physiotherapy about patient-centred care, communication and interprofessional collaboration. These are invaluable abilities that may be delivered to any health-care occupation. I’ve a lot to study, however I’ve that basis.”
Dentist from Poland grateful for UM path to Canadian accreditation
Polish-trained dentist Magdalena (Magda) Szmurlo was six months pregnant together with her first youngster when she interviewed for the Worldwide Dentist Diploma Program (IDDP) on the Dr. Gerald Niznick Faculty of Dentistry.
She says she was met with nothing however assist from the college and workers. They assured her she’d be capable to handle parenthood and dental faculty.
“I acquired a whole lot of heat phrases,” she remembers. “It’s arduous, however I’m in a position to examine and be a mom.”
The aggressive program accepts a handful of internationally educated dentists annually, including them to an current class for the ultimate two years of the four-year diploma program in order that they’re prepared for Canadian accreditation.
Szmurlo practised dentistry for about three years in Poland earlier than immigrating to Ontario in 2015 together with her husband, a Polish-Canadian nurse. As her English improved, she was in a position to attend school and procure work as a dental assistant.
When she acquired her acceptance to the UM program, she was overjoyed. “I used to be crying,” she remembers. “I known as my mother in Poland and advised her.
“I’m actually grateful that I bought this opportunity to be a Canadian dentist. I really feel actually glad to be a part of this college.”
One key distinction within the occupation between her dwelling nation and Canada, Szmurlo says, is that in Poland she was chargeable for a wider vary of procedures, together with taking X-rays and scaling enamel. “Right here, you actually work as a crew. Every particular person has a selected function.”
She appreciates getting extra publicity to prosthodontics – particularly crowns and bridges – at UM than she acquired in her Polish coaching.
Szmurlo’s child daughter is now 11 months outdated. An in depth bond has shaped among the many eight dentists within the IDDP Class of 2023, most of whom are additionally mother and father. The group contains dentists educated in Brazil, India, Iran and Nigeria.
“From the primary second, I spotted I’ve new associates – associates with a dentistry background who actually perceive my scenario,” Szmurlo says. “Now we have a WhatsApp group and we’re at all times chatting. We’re actually supportive.”
Formally donning her white coat and reciting the school’s Neighborhood Code – a pledge of integrity, respect and duty – on the Opening Meeting was emotional for Szmurlo.
“I used to be actually moved,” she says. “In my nation, we didn’t have this ceremony. I used to be pleased with myself that I’m experiencing this.”