What does Reconciliation mean to you personally and as Dean of a faculty and the discipline(s) it represents?
To me, as Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Reconciliation means reaching out to Indigenous communities, acknowledging the discrimination that they have faced, learning from them
and seeking their collaboration to bring positive changes in many areas including education, outreach and community services.
What do you think is needed for Reconciliation to succeed?
Mutual respect, building trust, building on wisdom of Aboriginal communities and scholars, and encouraging co-learning
What is your personal pledge of action(s) to take part in that process of Reconciliation?
At a personal level, I have started to increase my knowledge about Indigenous communities via building a research partnership with Cree First Nations communities in 2014. It was important for me to better understand the Cree communities’ oral health challenges and to find solutions toward better oral health care through integrating Indigenous visions to identify effective models of care. Through this research partnership, I have had opportunities to meet and work with various Indigenous stakeholders, which helped me to better understand how the disparity toward this nation has been shaped historically and how we should work together to mobilize policy makers and key actors to implement appropriate policy change in many aspects including oral health care delivery, and dental education and training. Our new project in the Faculty of Dentistry, Dent ma communauté, will also be reaching out to Indigenous and Black communities to create bridges and encourage students from those communities to apply to the Faculty. As well, on September 30, on the occasion of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we are virtually receiving Dr. Sheri McKinstry to come and speak to us about recognizing the experiences of Indigenous victims and survivors of the residential school system. More information is available at: https://www.mcgill.ca/dentistry/channels/event/national-day-truth-and-reconciliation-recognizing-experiences-indigenous-victims-and-survivors-333096.
Dean, Faculty of Dentistry