Infection control CE that is fun: Canham's seminars avoid 'pitfalls' of safety lectures

Feb. 17, 2016
By Ann-Marie DePalma: Canham's infection control seminars avoid 'pitfalls' of safety lectures.

The news seems to regularly report dental infection control breaches. From major disease outbreaks to minor infractions, dental practices are in the spotlight for lack of protocols. All of these breaches demand that dental teams review, update, and fine-tune infection control knowledge, skills, and procedures.

Creating a culture of infection prevention and safety is not a simple process. Leslie Canham, CDA, RDA, CSP, has designed several programs to assist dental teams in creating that culture in fun and interesting ways. "Pitfalls in Infection Control" provides participants with do's and don'ts and hands-on demonstrations following the current CDC guidelines in a memorable presentation. Participants are provided with information on infection control checklists, instrument processing protocols, and resources that can be used to secure infection control and OSHA compliance. Using training tips, games, and tools to reinforce infection control culture and safety, Leslie offers participants:

• Understanding of the infection control coordinator position within a practice

• Discussion of the key federal, state and local regulations that impact dental practice

• Development of a checklist for infection control compliance

• Identification of resources for infection control and safety

• Organization and implementation of an infection control safety meeting

In addition to the "Pitfalls" program, Leslie offers programs on OSHA inspections, Safety Data Sheets (formerly Material Safety Data Sheets), HIPAA, hand hygiene, and creating a practice safety manual. Her programs allow hygienists to gain the tools needed to train their teams on appropriate protocols in fun and memorable ways. She can provide presentations at live continuing education venues, during webinars, or via home study programs. By making the often "dry" material engaging and fun, Leslie creates an atmosphere that allows information to "stick" with a participant. By using the information provided during any of her programs, Leslie feels that the patient, dental team, and practice benefit from safe dental care.

Leslie's interest in dentistry began early on when she worked in her father's dental practice as an assistant. The experiences working both as an assistant and business team member helped her learn and understand both the front and back operations of a successful dental office. When her father sold the practice to return to school to specialize in his career, she began working as a temporary receptionist and assistant in a number of dental offices. The demand for her services prompted her to create a dental employment agency where she eventually began placing dentists, hygienists, assistants, and business team in both temporary and permanent positions.

A move from southern to northern California required her to sell the business, however, and she returned to working in a practice herself. Her new employer assigned her the task of "OSHA Coordinator," establishing the practice's infection control and OSHA compliance protocols. The research for this position became the basis for her continuing education programs. She did such a good job with training her co-workers that dentists in the area wanted her to train their teams as well. Thus, her speaking career was launched.

She currently is authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor as an OSHA Outreach Trainer in General Industry Standards along with being a recognized CE provider by the Academy of General Dentistry.

Leslie provides course participants with handouts that contain checklists, charts, and step-by-step protocols. Her presentation style is interactive with PowerPoint slides, lecture, discussions, group and hands-on activities. She enjoys interacting with her audiences as much as possible. Recent participants have commented that the information presented can be used immediately in practice to implement an action plan to provide every patient with a safe dental experience every time.

During one of her infection control programs with over 200 participants, the adjoining room had a religious revival meeting occurring. The music, singing, and hand clapping often drowned out her information. With not many alternatives, Leslie broke into "Shout" by Otis Day and the Knights from the "Animal House" movie! Soon everyone was singing and they began to drown out the revival group. How often do you get to say "Amen" to OSHA?

Although not a hygienist, Leslie does belong to the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP), the American Dental Assistants' Association, the California Association of Dental Assistant Teachers, the California Dental Association, the Academy of Dental Practice Management Consultants, the National Speakers' Association, and the Speaking and Consulting Network. She is a Certified Speaking Professional, a designation conferred by the National Speakers' Association. Fewer than 10% of speakers worldwide hold this professional designation. She also has served on various committees of the associations she belongs to, including the Dental Assisting National Board Test Construction Committee for the National Infection Control Examination.

Leslie is passionate about her family and animals having eight children, 14 grandchildren, four horses, six cats, and a chocolate lab named Mocha. With all of that, she and her husband live on a 22-acre ranch in California affectionately known as Camp Canham! They are always setting up go cart tracks, basketball courts, obstacle courses, and other fun activities for the family to enjoy.

She enjoys motivating and inspiring audiences to make changes that impact their own and their patients' safety. She doesn't like one-way presentations and engages participants in a two-way conversation that meets their needs. By simplifying the complex regulations of OSHA, infection control and HIPAA and remembering that it is a privilege to present programs, Leslie honors her audiences with educational and memorable programs.

For more information about Leslie or her programs, contact her at [email protected] or visit

Thought for the month:

"All things are possible until they are proven impossible." -Pearl S. Buck RDH

The critical role of the oral-systemic link in clinical practice

The associations between periodontal disease and systemic diseases are widely accepted. The term "the oral-systemic link" refers to the connections between the two. Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease process resulting from the interaction between bacterial attack and the host inflammatory response.

Periodontal disease has been shown to result in inflammation in parts of the body beyond the oral cavity. It is this inflammation and the causative periodontal pathogens that have been implicated as contributing factors, through a variety of pathways, in a multitude of systemic diseases and conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, hypertension, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy complications, and a variety of cancers. Research is ongoing to determine the exact mechanisms interconnecting systemic diseases to periodontal disease and the strength of the various interconnections.

Column readers can obtain a 50% discount by using the code, AMFEB16, through March 24, 2016. The regular tuition is $59 and is $29.50 after the discount is applied.

ANN-MARIE C. DEPALMA, RDH, MEd, FADIA, FAADH, is a Fellow of the American Academy of
Dental Hygiene and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, as well as a continuous member of ADHA. She presents continuing education programs for dental team members on a variety of topics. Ann-Marie is collaborating with several authors on various books for dental hygiene and can be reached at [email protected].