Convocation Spotlight - Alicia Tran, '21 BSc DH

Convocation Spotlight - Alicia Tran, '21 BSc DH

Tarwinder Rai - 24 June 2021

Alicia Tran says she will be forever grateful for the many ways the dental hygiene program has changed her life.

For her, what started out as a student enrolling in a program, quickly became so much more – dental hygiene was her new home.

“I have never felt such a strong sense of belonging,” says Tran. “Everything I have learned and the achievements I have made are attributed to the wonderful peers and professors that I have been lucky enough to work with.”

As a first generation Asian-Canadian, Tran says volunteering with the Student Health Initiative for the Needs of Edmonton (SHINE) Clinic hit close to home as her parents both came to Canada as child refugees seeking asylum from the Vietnam War.

“Throughout the years, they encountered many difficulties when attempting to access dental care such as financial limitations, language barriers and a lack of oral health literacy,” she says. “I see my parents reflected in our SHINE patients and it makes the work we do in the organization even more rewarding.”

And because of this, Tran’s dental hygiene degree means a lot more than the letters beside her name, for her it represents being able to break through the disparities her family faced.

“The many volunteer organizations in the School of Dentistry have given me the opportunities to use my education and abilities to improve oral health in the community, both directly and indirectly,” says Tran. “SHINE has allowed me to meet patients that I otherwise may have never interacted with in private practice. It’s allowed me to truly see the impact of lack in accessibility of dental care for much of the Edmonton population.”