Find out more about the people making the decisions and calling the shots in the DHAA.
Every fortnight we ask various movers and shakers, in the association, a set of questions. This week we catch up with Aileen Lewis, the DHAA Chair for Western Australia.
- Why did you decide to become a dental hygienist/OHT?
When I was in primary school we were the first intake in 1974 in Western Australia for the Government School Dental Therapy Service.
It was my mother that pointed out what a great vocation this might be. I contemplated studying Biology at Curtin however Medicine at UWA was my first choice. That road was rather a tough one and after working part time at my childhood private dentist as an assistant, he encouraged me to go down the therapy/hygiene path.
I decided that dental therapy in those days was a secure job and with general registration and conversion courses a combination of both suited me well.
- What was your favourite subject during hygiene/OHT training?
Oral health promotion, prevention and community speaking was my favourite subject. I also enjoyed microbiology and pathology. Seeing what was inhabiting ones oral tissues under the microscope intrigued me and scared me out of my wits too!
- What do you love most about being a DH/OHT?
The ability to give back to the community and to impart knowledge to those that need assistance to improve their overall health. Being a keen humanitarian aid volunteer in Vietnam and recently in Mongolia, to help others less fortunate than ourselves has been very rewarding.
- Tell us about your current role with the DHAA, and why you decided to get involved.
Currently I am Western Australia’s Chair with a fabulous and supportive committee.
I decided to get involved after I was asked to be a volunteer at WA Children’s Week 2015 where the DHAA participate in an information booth with interactive role play with young families. I met some of the committee and I decided that DHAA upheld the same values as myself to represent a great service in the community.
Currently I am active on the board for the State Oral Health Advisory Council, a member of the ANZSociety of Paediatrics and promoting 2018 Dental Health Week with two homeless refuge agencies.
- Who is the person that most influenced you, and how?
When I first became Chair in 2017, Rhonda Kremmer the then Director of WA DHAA was influential in encouraging and mentoring me to take over the role of Chair.
Rhonda has been my sounding board ever since and I look to her for advice and a great friendship.
- What are you currently reading?
I enjoy books that are based on certain eras that have detailed descriptive costume and scenery.
I have just finished a book called ‘Belle’ a fictitious novel based on a young girl born into the life of 1800 England and her mother’s brothel business!
- Where do you go to escape?
We do like to escape to Guilderton which is about an hour’s drive north of Perth. It’s a little seaside place that my in-laws have owned since the ‘70’s. It’s peaceful and we walk our dogs with no traffic lights and sirens like in the city!
Keep an eye out for next time, when we will get to know another proud DHAA volunteer workforce.