Dental graduate promotes oral health whether in rural Guatemala or rural Ontario

From journeying down the winding back roads in rural Guatemala, to practicing dentistry in small-town Ontario, Dental graduate Kayleigh MacIntosh says the goal is the same; to encourage total oral health in underserviced populations where access to care is limited. MacIntosh has spent part of the last four years of her dental training volunteering her time providing oral hygiene education and service in Guatemala, and now plans to set up practice in the rural community of Wiarton on the Bruce Peninsula. She will graduate with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry on Wednesday, June 20th  at Alumni Hall at 3:00 p.m.

MacIntosh’s decision to practice dentistry stemmed from an interest in both art and science. “When I looked into dentistry I realized it was the perfect blend of being able to use my hands and also practice in a health profession,” she says.

It was her uncle, Dr. Tom Rice, a long-time faculty member with Schulich Dentistry who first inspired MacIntosh to become involved in social advocacy and global outreach.  He has been involved in providing care to underserviced populations for the last decade in South America and Africa and his stories of adventure and personal growth encouraged MacIntosh to become involved. She travelled to rural villages to provide dental care and education to impoverished populations, some of whom had never seen a dentist before in their lives.  “In a place like Guatemala, where the access to care just isn’t there, you have much different problems and patterns of disease and you really see how much prevention and oral education is important in those places,” says MacIntosh.  She has also participated in Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS) program, and spent time in the isolated northern community of Moose Factory, Ontario on the southern end of James Bay.

“Dentistry goes way beyond drilling and filling. You have to pay attention to total oral health, and part of being a healthy person is having a healthy mouth as well.”

During the same convocation, the founder and CEO of GoodLife Fitness, David Patchell-Evans will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.  “Patch” leads one of the largest, most successful fitness companies in the world with its 300 clubs and more than 750,000 members. He’s also a five-time Canadian rowing champion, and has donated more than $4 million to The Kilee Patchell-Evans Autism Research Group at Western.

Media contact: Kathy Wallis, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, 519-661-2111 ext. 81136, cell: 519-777-1573,