Indigenous Dental Association to provide new platform for Indigenous dental health

The creation of a new association for Indigenous dental professionals means they will soon have a platform through which they can network with other Indigenous colleagues across Canada and spur improved oral health in Canada’s Indigenous communities.

The newly-established Indigenous Dental Association of Canada will serve as a network and a community through which they can share resources, knowledge and experiences, while supporting approaches to dentistry rooted in traditional ways of knowing, said the association’s founder last week.

Indigenous Services Canada will support the association, as part of its goal to advance Reconciliation across the country – partly through improved dental-health resources.

“Importantly, while IDAC endeavours to support oral health providers, researchers, and affiliates to move forward on our Reconciliation journey,” said IDAC founder Dr. Sherri McKinstry. “Our priority is to create a culturally safe community for Indigenous oral health providers, Indigenous students interested in the oral health profession, and Indigenous communities."

IDAC hopes achieve its goals partly through its Indigenous Oral Health Knowledge Transfer Project, which will create tools and resources for communities to improve oral health, including a multimedia project aimed at raising awareness about oral health care and services in Indigenous communities.

The project will also seek to bridge cultural understanding and combat racial biases in receiving oral health care, a government statement said.

“The Indigenous Dental Association of Canada (IDAC) was founded on Reconciliation guided by the Final Reports by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the 94 Calls to Action,” McKinstry said. “In fact, IDAC invited Canada's dental community to join us on our Reconciliation journey during the Anti-Indigenous Racism in Dentistry webinar that was supported by Indigenous Services Canada back in March 2022.”

Federal Indigenous Services minister Patty Hajdu said she was looking forward to seeing the results of IDAC’s work.

“Indigenous Services Canada is proud to support the newly created Indigenous Dental Association of Canada (IDAC) that will bring together a network of dental professionals from across the country, create new tools and resources, and ultimately help improve oral health care in Indigenous communities,” she said. “This is part of the larger work that must be done to ensure that Indigenous peoples have access to safe and culturally sensitive healthcare, free from racism and discrimination. I commend the work and advocacy that lead to the creation of IDAC, and I look forward to following the progress ahead."

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase