Deanna Mackay, Program Chair and ProfessorDeanna Mackay

MSc, BDSc(DH), Dip DH

Deanna joined our Faculty in January of 2019. She comes to us with a lengthy clinical career in dental hygiene and dental assisting. Deanna holds a Certificate in Dental Assisting, Diploma of Dental Hygiene, a Bachelor of Dental Science (Dental Hygiene) and a Master of Science degree. She has had the honour to serve fellow dental hygienists provincially, nationally, and internationally. Her professional service began as a student representative with the Manitoba Dental Hygienists Association (MDHA). Throughout the years she has served in many positions within the MDHA, including President. Deanna has served as a Board Director on the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association and represented Canada on the House of Delegates of the International Federation of Dental Hygienists. Currently, Deanna serves as a member of the Oral Cancer Working Group for the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research. Deanna's area of interest includes lifelong learning, oral cancer, and promoting the profession of dental hygiene.

Stephanie Allan, Sessional Instructor


Lauren Ashbee, Sessional Instructor

DipDH and BScDH Specialty, University of Alberta

Lauren began practising dental hygiene in 2007 with a Diploma in Dental Hygiene from the University of Alberta. In 2009, she received her BSc Dental Hygiene Specialization, also from the University of Alberta. For over 8 years, her primary focus was in private clinical practice while also working in a rural community. Since 2016, Lauren has been a clinical instructor in the Dental Hygiene Diploma program here at VIU, where she enjoys working with the students and seeing them grow their clinical skills. She currently divides her time between clinical instruction and private practice.


Leslie Blagdon, Sessional InstructorLeslie Blagdon


Leslie Blagdon joined the Faculty of Health and Human Services at Vancouver Island University in September 2015.  Leslie grew up in Victoria, BC, where she earned a BSc in Microbiology/Biochemistry, and then graduated with a Diploma in Dental Hygiene from Vancouver Community College in 1989. For over 25 years she has worked in numerous private dental practices all over BC, including clinics in Victoria, Alert Bay, and Prince George. Leslie moved back to Vancouver Island, leaving Prince George where in addition to working as the senior hygienist at Southridge Dental Inc., she was a part-time instructor in the Dental Studies department at the College of New Caledonia (CNC). At CNC, Leslie taught Microbiology and Prevention courses, as well as acting as a part-time Clinical Instructor in some of the senior dental hygiene clinics.


Lynn Brimacombe, Equipment and Supplies Clerk


Lynn is the Equipment and Supplies Clerk for the health and dental programs in the Faculty of Health and Human Services.  She has worked with dental programs since 2007, starting shortly after graduating from the Dental Assistant program. For 3 years, she coupled her part-time position in dental programs with VIU’s International department. In 2013, Lynn began working full-time in the Faculty. She is happy to be a resource to all utilizing the Dental Clinic at the Nanaimo campus as well as the Health labs at Nanaimo, Cowichan, and Powell River.


Elizabeth Cavin, Professor

DipDH; PID; BDScDH, University of British Columbia

Starting her dental career in Mexico, Lise shifted her focus to dental hygiene soon after she moved to Canada. Throughout her 29 years as a Registered Dental Hygienist, Lise has built a reputation for her commitment to excellence in client care and lifelong learning. She holds a Diploma in Dental Hygiene, a Provincial Instructor Diploma, and a Bachelor of Dental Sciences (Dental Hygiene), earning the Joan Voris Award of Achievement and the Hu-Friedy CDHA Nevi Scholarship. As part of her studies at UBC, Lise had a unique opportunity to live and work with students from other health disciplines within an Aboriginal community in BC, and later completed the Indigenous Cultural Competency Training through the Provincial Health Services Authority. She is interested in the integration of cultural safety into oral health care as a way to potentially improve the oral health of Aboriginal peoples. Her literature review on the topic was published in the peer reviewed Canadian Journal of Dental Hygiene. As a member of the Discipline Committee and a Quality Assurance Program Assessor with the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia, Lise remains actively involved in her profession. She is also listed as a trainer in the prevention, detection, and intervention of elder abuse with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. Lise continues to work part-time in private practice since joining the Dental Hygiene Diploma program at Vancouver Island University in 2011, where her dedication and passion for her profession has encouraged and inspired many of her students.


Stephanie Crocker, ProfessorStephanie Crocker


Stephanie joined VIU in January 2008 as a sessional instructor and became a regular faculty member in 2010. She has over 25 years experience in the dental profession, first as a Certified Dental Assistant (4 years), and presently as a Registered Dental Hygienist (20+ years). Stephanie is actively involved with the College of Dental Hygienists of British Columbia (CDHBC) as a member of the Inquiry Committee and has provided clinical remediation to registrants through College referral. She is also an item writer for the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB). Stephanie has participated in several committees here at VIU, including Interprofessional Day and Seasons of Health and Healing. She built relationships with the local Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre and other community agencies to enrich the experiences of students through service learning, as well as giving to the community. Stephanie has worked with several nursing faculty to provide interprofessional learning experiences during community placements in the senior year of the program. Stephanie's areas of interest are oral health-systemic health; determinants of health; Aboriginal health; ecosocial theory and interprofessional collaboration.

Andrew Hollenberg, Professor

MEd; BSc; DipDH; PID

Andrew has been a registered dental hygienist since 1991 with experience in a variety of private practice settings. Andrew joined Vancouver Island University on a full-time basis in 2008 and now acts as clinic lead for the senior class. As a professional, Andrew is involved with the College of Dental Hygienists of BC (CDHBC) as a clinical board examiner and QAP assessor; National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB) as an item writer; Commission of Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) as site surveyor, and the Canadian Foundation for Dental Hygiene Research and Education (CFDHRE) as a review committee member. Andrews’s academic interests are in the areas of oral pathology, advanced instrumentation, and prevention. Andrew follows an educational philosophy that focuses on the individualized development of intrinsic motivation and life-long learning.

Tamara Maniec, Sessional Instructor

BSc, University of Victoria; DipDH, Camosun College

Tamara graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science degree and from Camosun College in Victoria with a Diploma in Dental Hygiene. Since 1999 she has been a Registered Dental Hygienist and is currently employed both in general practice and as a clinical instructor in the Dental Hygiene Diploma program at Vancouver Island University. With a diverse background in both the medical and dental health care fields, Tamara brings a broad range of experience into the educational setting. She has assisted in the production of educational dental podcasts, developed websites for dental offices, and has been a moderator for an online learning platform which provided business training for dentists through webinars. She hopes to instill this passion for technology and continuing education in her students allowing them to provide the best experiences possible for their future clients in the constantly advancing field of dentistry.


Ciara Mitenko, Practicum Coordinator (Health Programs)

BA (Anthropology); MA (Medical Anthropology); LSB College, Dublin, Ireland

Ciara began her career working at Barretstown, a therapeutic recreation camp for children with serious illnesses, based in Ireland. In her role, she managed relationships with more than 110 hospitals across Europe, connecting with children and families who could benefit from this unique program. After leaving Barretstown, Ciara moved to Kathmandu, Nepal. Over the next 3 years, she worked with female sex workers in the areas of education and protection. In 2008 she moved to London, UK, to work with a private foundation to develop funding networks for non-profit organizations in the Asia/Pacific region. Ciara immigrated to Canada in 2010 and worked at Haven Society supporting their volunteer program in the areas of feminism and domestic violence. She joined the VIU team in November 2014 as the Health Programs practicum coordinator and with the joyful task of sourcing multiple practicum placements for nearly 300 nursing and dental students on a yearly basis.

Susan Sanders, Professor

BSc, Simon Fraser University; DVM, University of Saskatchewan; PhD (Biology), Simon Fraser University

Susan joined Vancouver Island University on a full-time basis in 2009 prior to teaching as a sessional instructor since 2005. Susan is a veterinarian and a physiologist and teaches in both the Dental Hygiene program and in the Biology department. She is also the Institutional Veterinarian and is involved with overseeing the use of animals at VIU for teaching and research purposes, and sits on the Animal Care Committee. Susan’s academic areas of interest include anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, feline medicine, and animal welfare.

Monica Soth, Professor

Dip DH; MEd; EdD

Monica joined the VIU Dental Hygiene program in 2007.  Monica has promoted the hygiene profession for over 30 years.  She has practiced as a clinician, educator, administrator and researcher, and gave back to the profession by serving on many provincial, national, and international dental hygiene committees and regulatory organizations.  She has presented at provincial and international conferences.  Monica received her diploma in dental hygiene from Vancouver Community College (1989) and a MEd (2007).  She recently obtained a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy from the University of British Columbia where she investigated the impact of a quality assurance program on dental hygiene practice in BC.


Geri McPherson, Program Assistant

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