Woman Power: Dr Lesline Davis making a difference in the lives of Jamaicans
Striving for excellence in education, excelling at any task set before her, being determined, and having tenacity no matter the challenge are tenets of the strong value system ingrained in Dr Lesline Davis at a young age.
It is as a result of this why Davis spends her days making sure that families, particularly the underserved, reap the benefits of health education and service.
“Family is everything to me, and without the encouragement and support of my family, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I really am blessed to have strong family support on both my paternal and maternal sides, and this is why I am where I am doing the things I do,” she said.
A dentist by profession, Davis said she had always been fascinated by beautiful smiles and is passionate about improving the oral health of her fellow Jamaicans, especially children, those with special care needs, and the underprivileged in general.
“Unfortunately, dental IQ, in general, is quite low in Jamaica. Parents, guardians, and caregivers are unaware that a child’s first dental visit should be by their first birthday to monitor growth and development of dentition, and also to educate on oral hygiene practices, nutrition, and habits that can negatively impact oral health,” Davis said.
Born and raised in Cobbla in Manchester, Davis knew from early what she wanted to do and made every effort to despite the challenges.
A past student of Bishop Gibson and Hampton high schools, Davis said she applied to dentistry programmes in the United States but could not attend due to the high costs. But that didn’t stop her.
“It was while at UWI ( The University of the West Indies), Mona, pursuing a zoology/biochemistry degree that I first heard of the dentistry programme at UWI, St Augustine, Trinidad. I quickly applied for a transfer. Since then, I have done a Master of Science in dental public health at King’s College London as a Commonwealth Scholar and a diploma in dental public health at Royal College of Surgeons of England. I have also done [and] postgraduate certifications in project management supervisory management, and I am a member of the Faculty of Dental Surgeons, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.”
An adjunct lecturer in the dental hygiene programme at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville since 2007 and a practising dentist in Mandeville at Bright Smile Dental, Davis said every Jamaican should have certain privileges.
“I would like to see Jamaicans brightly smiling again. I won’t say the average Jamaican as we Jamaicans are not average. But especially the underprivileged. I look forward to when all individuals are interviewed on the nightly news after an incident, that their dentition reflects who we really are as a people.”
She added, “The opportunity to help and to serve is important to me. I do a lot of oral health promotion and dental health education at various schools, nursing and children’s homes, churches, and association events. I enjoy organising and executing dental outreaches and dental health fairs. I am an active member of the Jamaica Dental Association, and I am presently the 2019 Oral Health Month chairperson.”
Davis is not only passionate about improving the oral health of all, but she is creating better lives through religious outreach.
“I am a member of the Mt Olivet United Church in Manchester and presently a member of the young adults’ group of my church. I love being involved in any outreach activity associated with my church. My church shares grounds with a boys’ home, and I enjoy interacting with and mentoring the boys. Christian principles learnt from childhood continue to direct the way I live my life to this day.”
The lover of movies, the theatre, museums, live concerts, hiking, gastronomic delights, learning new languages and cultures, meeting people/networking, and getting involved in projects related to issues of humanity said that she is hoping to see a brighter-smiling Jamaica in the future and more growth and development in her country.
She told Family & Religion “The scourge of crime and violence in our society needs to be eradicated, and good leadership, sound policies, and effective management of resources are needed to improve quality of life in Jamaica. Jamaica is really too rich to be so poor.”