Jenny Gao, Hannah Goodwin, Laura Jakobsen, Robyn Mazzei, Sarah Rachid, Brittany Oliveros

Dent Hyg

Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Specialization, 4th and final year!

Course: DHYG 470 (Winter 2022) with Instructor Kimi Khabra

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives? 

We were fortunate to partner with Converse and Cook for our CSL experience and our project entailed creating an informative (and free!) virtual panel called Nutrition 101: Busting Food Myths. The intention of the panel involved featuring Registered Dietitians who could bust some common food myths and ideas regarding diet and nutrition, such as: ‘Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?’ and ‘Fresh vs frozen food: is one better or healthier than the other?’. The panel also featured a Registered Psychologist who could discuss the intricacies of social media, diet culture and body image as it relates to food and mental health. The objective of this panel was to have qualified professionals discuss these myths to create a healthier, evidence based narrative surrounding food and nutrition. Food and mental health are also very interconnected in our society, and this event allowed the participants to gain insight and knowledge towards healthy food choices and habits.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)? What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

Our biggest takeaway is how working interprofessionally can foster a very successful and positive team environment. Sharing knowledge between Dental Hygiene students, along with our panelists of Registered Dietitians and a Registered Psychologist plus our CSL partner Converse and Cook as a non-profit organization focusing on creating safe spaces to explore nutrition and access culturally relevant food for all, allowed for a unique collaborative experience and facilitated the ability to share knowledge between our different scopes of practice to bring an educational experience to our event attendees.

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

This knowledge can be applied in our future careers as Dental Hygienists as it has a strong focus on teamwork. The dental environment relies heavily on team work, communication, and trust within your group. We were able to experience all of these components through this CSL project. Working with our team of Hygiene students along with the Converse and Cook team was a very fun and eye opening experience that highlighted the importance of working as a team within a truly collaborative environment.

Converse and Cook has been affected significantly by COVID, as many of their events were previously in-person Cooking Socials which provided an opportunity to teach participants about food by cooking meals together to build both nutritional knowledge and community. Due to COVID, events have had to transition fully online, which unfortunately is a more challenging platform to build community through. 

Converse and Cook have held a few virtual events during the pandemic, and most recently featured our Nutrition 101 panel! This panel would have been very engaging to have in person, however, having virtual meetings and a virtual event allowed for group members to participate from multiple locations. During the planning stages of this panel, many of our group members were on a Satellite Rotation as part of the Dental Hygiene program to rural Northern communities, but we were still able to attend the touch-base meetings and contribute to planning. A virtual panel also allowed participants to join our event from different cities and increased the reach of this information to the public!