Meet Cilla Watkins

BCDHA Director, Interior

I am Cilla Watkins, and I am your Board Member for The BCDHA Interior.

Before telling you about myself, I will start by acknowledging that I am fortunate to be able to live and work on the unceded territory of the Secwepmc People.

I began my career working in Community Dental Health. I learned how challenging this environment can be, and I appreciate the dedication and effort my colleagues bring to these work settings. I was president of the Ontario Dental Hygiene Orthodontic Study Club for two terms and held a position as a Dental Assisting instructor at George Brown College. I spent My two-year position at George Brown College teaching Microbiology and Biology to dental assistants working toward becoming Certified Dental Assistants. Part of my career included providing oral health education to Elementary School Students and working at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital. I am a full-time dental hygienist in general practice and have worked in numerous volunteer positions.

My dental work experiences include dental reception, working as a CDA, RDH and now a full-time Dental Hygiene Practitioner. I love my chosen profession and can’t imagine doing anything else full-time.

I am dedicated, approachable, confident, hardworking, creative, innovative, and FUN!

Fun Fact about me. I was on Dragon’s Den and got the fastest deal in the show’s history at the three-minute mark! My sister and I created the only organic barley tea brand in Canada and got a deal with Jim Treliving (founder of Boston Pizza and advocate for Mental Health). 

I represent you and your concerns as a dental hygienist in a private clinical practice. I will listen to you and bring your voice to your organization. Although we don’t all have the same skill set, I believe collectively, we can gather our strengths to create the best board for you and the profession’s future.

In 2006, I attended the CDHA National Conference in Edmonton. That conference set me on my journey here to be your Director of the Interior for BCDHA.

Never had I felt so small being a dental hygienist. Everyone in the conference room was asked to stand; if you were a dental hygienist, you were asked to sit, and only those with Bachelor’s in Dental Hygiene were asked to remain standing.

I felt so undervalued by my profession. I was a front-line worker! I was a soldier on the front lines, working day in and out, exhausted, spending my hard-earned money on Continuing Education like this in Edmonton, only to be left feeling belittled and undervalued for ONLY being an RDH.

If this is what my profession thinks of me, what does the public think?

I left feeling deflated. I decided to earn my BSC (DH) for my self-esteem, to feel worthy and to commit when the time came to represent the working hygienist, the RDH, and the soldier of our profession. My time is Now.

I want to help uplift you, make you love your profession, and make you feel proud and valued for what you do. When the government wants to introduce a new Bill or Health Professions Act, I want us to be informed and not feel intimidated to ask questions for clarification. If I can assist, I will. I don’t think answers like “Do your research” cut it anymore. We need to work together. Thank you for your support.