The Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Association (ODHA) presented its first student advocacy award to Meet Thakkar, who graduated this year from the three-year dental hygiene program at Cambrian College in Sudbury.
The ODHA Student Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene Advocacy recognizes outstanding contributions to community advocacy initiatives outside of course requirements. The award was conferred at Cambrian College following convocation on May 28.
While excelling academically, Thakkar demonstrated strong leadership skills, earned respect among his instructors and peers, and was an avid supporter and advocate of dental hygiene both in the college and the community. His award nominators described him as an exceptional student and role model, and a compassionate and professional individual “with a burning desire to help others.”
For three years, he served on the organizing and donations committee for Walk for a Smile, an annual student event to raise funds for The Corner Clinic, which provides student placements and oral care services to the homeless and others in need.
In recognition of his leadership and academic achievements, Thakkar was elected student representative on the Cambrian College Board of Governors, served as dental hygiene class representative and received a number of awards including the International Student Voice Magazine Spotlight Award, the College Students Alliance Student Leadership Scholarship and the Cambrian International Award of Excellence.
Most recently, he was one of eight dental hygiene students chosen to volunteer in a nine-day interprofessional health-care mission to Costa Rica in April.
Two ODHA advocacy awards (valued at $500 each) may be given annually to students enrolled in Ontario dental hygiene programs.