D HYG 470 Group

D HYG 470 Group

Jenna Helmer - Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Specialization, 4th year

Josephine Ong -Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Specialization, 4th year

Leigh Gloria -Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Specialization, 4th year

Kianna Moore -Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Specialization, 4th year

Taylor Hanaghan -Bachelor of Science, Dental Hygiene Specialization, 4th year

Course: D HYG 470 (Fall 2022 & Winter 2023) with Instructor Kimi Khabra

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

Our community partner was the City of Edmonton. As a community service-learning partnership, the City of Edmonton collaborates with student groups to carry out accessibility audits as a part of the City’s Corporate Accessibility Plan. The auditing process encompasses measurements, photos of infrastructure, comments on various aspects of the buildings, and indicating each area as compliant or non-compliant, to determine if these public spaces are currently accessible or will require modifications to ensure inclusion of all members of the public.

Our roles and responsibilities were divided into three student groups. Jenna and Kate audited the Meadows Community Recreation Centre. Kianna and Taylor focused on the John Walter Museum and St. Francis Xavier Sports Centre. Leigh and Josephine audited the Prince of Wales Armouries and assisted other group members with their facilities. All building audits began in November and were completed in March.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement

We gained more awareness of how important inclusive design is to allow for increased access to public spaces

  • Originally we thought improving accessibility meant improving the ability to access the space while using a mobility aid. However there are a lot more factors involved in accessibility. We cannot just focus on visible disabilities but have to also be aware of invisible disabilities and also the disabilities that come with aging.
  • Our experiences shifted our perspectives of other areas we have encountered and the ways certain locations may be inaccessible for many people.
  • We encountered many different accessibility aids that we had not considered before such as adult change tables and hearing loop technology that allowed us to broaden our thinking about disability.
  • This community service-learning project also encouraged us to think about the Kaye Edmonton Clinic, where we provide direct client-centered care for the majority of our education. The Kaye Edmonton Clinic is considered state of the art and is a fairly new building, but there is many factors that make it inaccessible for some people.
  • This was a great opportunity for us to view society from a different lens and be able to make a difference within the community. Being a part of this community service-learning project has inspired us to challenge the standard idea of creating spaces exclusively for those who are able-bodied as well as create greater awareness of the issues associated with infrastructure and lack of inclusion.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)?

Working with others to advance well-being within the community has become very rewarding. It is important as future dental hygiene professionals that we actively gain knowledge of cultural awareness to become more sensitive and empathetic practitioners. With this understanding, we are better able to adapt and provide individualized and effective care to others and increase the overall well-being and health of our communities. The knowledge we gained from our CSL placement will help us better understand the challenges people with disabilities face, therefore allowing us to take more initiative to advocate for accessibility in dentistry.