Celebrating the Dentistry Class of 2018 with Kim Beaucage

By Luiza Moczarski, BFA'00

In 2008, Kim Beaucage, Dentistry Class of 2018, moved from her hometown of Waterloo to pursue graduate studies at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Now, 10 years later, she is excited to go back to where it all began.

“After graduation, I’m actually going back to the office where I worked as a receptionist and dental assistant trainee during high school and undergrad,” Beaucage said. “That's where I found my love for dentistry.”

Steadfastly focused on dentistry as a career, Beaucage applied to and was accepted into the Schulich Dental Clinician-Scientist (DCS) program, a year after arriving at Western. The unique program consists of a PhD in an area of research relevant to dentistry followed by a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.

She completed her PhD in Physiology with supervision of Dr. Jeff Dixon and David Holdsworth, PhD. Her research focused on osteoporosis and fat metabolism, examining how these can change with mechanical loading of the skeleton, and evaluating these changes using 3D imaging techniques.

While completing the DDS component of the program, Beaucage participated in the Dentistry Summer Research Program to remain involved with research. Her project focused on Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis (DISH), a common type of non-inflammatory arthritis. In DISH, soft tissues become abnormally calcified especially in the spinal region. The research team discovered abnormal calcifications in facial tissues and are currently preparing to publish their findings.

The award-winning research student is grateful for the tremendous support and mentorship from faculty members and researchers in addition to her PhD supervisors, including Harvey Goldberg, PhD, Stephen Sims, PhD and Cheryle Séguin, PhD throughout her studies. She hopes to continue being involved in translational research – moving basic bench science to the dental clinic.

During the past decade, Beaucage remained focused on dentistry outside of the classroom and clinic, finding balance and enjoyment in peer groups and volunteer work. She, along with classmate and fellow DCS trainee Erik Holm, DDS, PhD, founded the Dental Academic Research Trainees (DART) group in 2015.

DART is a group of passionate dental researchers including undergraduate students, graduate trainees, post-doctoral fellows and dental specialty trainees who want to promote research and provide a synergistic environment for researchers from many backgrounds. With generous support from Schulich Dentistry Research, the student group held relevant events, seminars and journal clubs to foster collaboration, learning and networking.

“It’s tough when you are in research,” Beaucage said. “You can become isolated in your lab and your work,” she added.

For her and so many others, DART alleviates that sense of isolation and offers an opportunity to meet like-minded individuals, creating a network of support through dentistry research-related events.

Her passion for dentistry also led her to work in the community with Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS), providing free dental care to low income families who have no dental insurance. She also volunteered with DOCS Kids community outreach, teaching children about good oral hygiene, as well as Sharing Smiles Day, which addresses barriers faced by special needs patients and builds positive relationships.

Reflecting on her time at Schulich Dentistry, Beaucage is incredibly grateful to the faculty and staff who supported her throughout her research and clinical training, and the establishment of DART.

“You learn a lot and you don’t realize how much you have learned until you’re at the end,” said Beaucage. “Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry has prepared me well to practice dentistry.”

On June 15, Beaucage will be walking across the Convocation stage to receive her lilac hood with a sense of pride and excitement as she looks forward to working in the clinic where her journey began. 

“I’ve come full circle,” she said.

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry congratulates Beaucage and the entire Dentistry Class of 2018 on their incredible achievements during the past four years and on their graduation.