FNUC Dental Program Worth Fighting For: Ducharme

Wednesday, December 02, 2009 at 12:13



A top official with the First Nations University of Canada says his school will fight to keep its dental therapy program.


Health Canada recently informed the university it will be cutting the program’s $2-million budget.


FNUC vice-president Al Ducharme says the school and its board would have liked more consultation about the decision.


He notes that the program not only benefits its students but the entire northern part of the province, since the students visit these communities and provide a vital service.


“They can go up (north) by themselves, because they are trained to do a certain amount of things, like extractions and some fillings, but they can’t do the full work of a dentist. So we go up there and we offer a service that does not exist (otherwise) in any of the communities. Perhaps it does exist in La Ronge, but it certainly doesn’t in Timber Bay or Grandmother’s Bay or Missinipe,” Ducharme says.


Ducharme says the university has already written letters to both levels of government, and he believes that First Nations and tribal councils, as well as the University of Saskatchewan and other partners, will likely write letters in support as well.


He says they intend to find other ways to fund the program, as they don’t want to shut it down.