Learner Perspectives: Dr. Natasha Holder on mentorship in oral and maxillofacial surgery

“When I was in dental school, I knew of only one female oral and maxillofacial surgeon and while it is changing, it’s important to me to show other women that there is a place for us here and that we can make great surgeons.

I’m quite passionate about this and believe mentorship is key in making change. I’m officially involved in the Women in Dentistry Mentorship Program, and I’m specifically paired with a student at the University of Toronto. I’m also informally mentoring a few female students here at Western. 

My role as a mentor involves guiding information on research opportunities, interviews, and how to become a competitive applicant. Most commonly though, most of the students I mentor ask about work/life balance in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) Program and what it means to be a female in the profession. I think this highlights the importance of representation in the field. They can’t be us, if they can’t see us.”

Dr. Natasha Holder is a second-year resident in the OMFS Program. She’s also a member of the Medicine Class of 2024, as OMFS residents complete their Doctor of Medicine degree, as well as a Master of Science in Pathology, concurrently. Having already completed a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, Dr. Holder is bringing great insight to her medical school class and peers.

“I feel that it’s important to hold the door open for students to come after me, and I encourage all students curious about OMFS to reach out to me if they are interested.”