Day in the life of Ashley Fossen, advanced imaging coordinator

Ashley Fossen is an advanced imaging coordinator for the School of Dentistry

1 November 2023

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background. How did you end up at the School of Dentistry?

I grew up in rural northern Alberta for the majority of my life. After high school, I moved to Edmonton and took the Dental Assisting program at NAIT. I have always had a passion for anything healthcare-related, mostly wanting to interact with people and make a positive impact on patient care. After being in dentistry for a few years I found myself wanting to grow my knowledge in the healthcare field and decided to go back to NAIT and I became a combined laboratory and X-ray technologist (CLXT).

Once I finished all my schooling, my partner and I moved back home to Lac La Biche and I started working at rural hospitals around the area. As a CLXT, you would either find me in the medical lab performing phlebotomy, analyzing samples, looking down a microscope, or in the Radiology Department doing all things X-ray! Somewhere along the way, I decided to jump on board with my local dentist as a registered dental assistant (RDA) again as well, so if I wasn’t at the hospital, I was at the dental office! I loved the variety that both of my careers were able to give me and really felt that they both helped me to better understand each of the fields and healthcare in general.

My other half’s work brought us back to Edmonton in 2021 and I was lucky enough to get brought on board with the School of Dentistry shortly after. Currently, I am the advanced imaging coordinator for the Oral Health Clinic and absolutely love being able to utilize both of my careers at once.

What does a typical day for you look like?

Advanced imaging for the school deals mostly with cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). 

My current role mainly includes managing all advanced imaging clinic and research requests, overseeing the radiology quality assurance program, acquiring various CBCT imaging and working with almost all areas of the school to ensure they have what they need to follow through with appropriate patient care. I work quite closely with the OHC radiology team and I am extremely grateful to be able to work alongside such knowledgeable resources from a radiology and educational standpoint. I have learned so much from being in this position and love to share whatever knowledge I can, with whoever I can!

What’s one interesting anecdote from your job?

I remember coming to the U of A to do hands-on training as an RDA when I was going to NAIT and always recall it being a super exciting experience — but also intimidating! It’s a super busy environment with something different always going on. It wasn’t until I joined the School of Dentistry as a staff member that I realized this environment is the furthest thing from intimidating. All of my fellow co-workers, the instructors, residents and students really are here for the same reason, which is to educate and provide the most positive environment possible for everyone involved.

What are your hobbies and passions?

When I am not at work you will most likely find me outside adventuring with my partner, Dillon, and our two dogs. We love spending time in the mountains hiking, skiing, horseback riding and travelling. Any excuse to get out and be active, whether it’s going for walks out at Elk Island Park or getting out on the lake to do some fishing, I’m there!

What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

I’m a country girl at heart! Growing up in rural communities most of my life sparked a passion within me for anything country from a young age. I feel so blessed to be able to live in Edmonton with all the amenities at my fingertips but I often find myself venturing outside the city limits to escape the hustle and bustle and get back to my rural roots. This fall I had the opportunity to go out on my first-ever goose hunt and look forward to adding that to my list of outdoorsy activities!