Elkford’s one and only dentist, Alastair Nicoll, has a new role – the Vice-President of the Canadian Dental Association. Following a year as Vice-President, Nicoll will become President-Elect in 2014, and President in 2015.
“The Canadian Dental Association is the voice of dentists in Canada. As President, I chair the board of directors and become a public face for Canadian dentists,” explained Nicoll. “We do a number of things to try and better oral health for Canadians, to look after the interests of dentists throughout the country, and to try and make knowledge more available.”
Originally from the UK, Nicoll moved to Elkford with his wife in 1989 and became the owner of the Elkford Dental Centre shortly after. Although he now lives in Fernie and commutes daily to his office, Nicoll still enjoys working in the small community of Elkford.
“One of the great things is just knowing the people that we’re serving very well, that makes the practice much more enjoyable,” remarked Nicoll. “As a rural practitioner, you have to deal with most of your patients’ needs as they come in the door.
“While we can access specialty services in Calgary or Lethbridge, or we might send people to Kelowna, the vast majority of people would prefer not to travel if we can manage to deal with their problems ourselves. So that really broadens the practising style, we have to meet the needs of everybody.”
It was working in a rural area that prompted Nicoll to become the Kootenay representative on the board of the B.C. Dental Association a few years ago.
“If you’re a sole practitioner in a small place, it’s very easy to have a sense of isolation, you don’t really interact with your colleagues very much,” Nicoll said. “So I felt a need to connect with others, and I also wanted to ensure the needs of rural practitioners were being met by the dental associations.”
Nicoll spent six years with the B.C. Dental Association, becoming President in 2008. He went on to stand for election as a board member for the Canadian Dental Association, leading him to his current position as Vice-President.
“What it’s done for me personally, is it’s given me a great deal of contacts and lots of friends, right across the country,” commented Nicoll. “I know many dentists in various positions, university academics, specialists, and so on, and many fine dentists that I’ve had a lot of contact with, and it’s actually a lot of fun.”
Nicoll will now be representing the needs of Canadian dentists on national and international issues.
He shared, “It’s going to make it very busy for the next few years. I’m going to be struggling to meet the needs of people in Elkford and I will likely have to get some help there.”
Nicoll made sure to add that he doesn’t plan on giving up his practice. “I love the area, I cannot imagine living anywhere else. I’m delighted to be here and I’m not going anywhere.”