Special Needs Dentists: Dr Trudy Lin: Young Australian of the Year 2022 SA Candidate
2022. Year of the Water Tiger in Chinese astrology. Any Tiger Year is basically about deciding to go big, or go home. It can be explosive; given the risk-taking, rebellious and solitary nature of such a regal and stealthy hunter. Because of the other four elements (fire, earth, metal and wood) a Water Tiger Year happens only every 60 years. As a natural force water is more powerful than fire. It can go around any obstacle without losing its essential nature. It’s connected to the emotions and creativity so 2022 will be strong and wild and very liberating for some.
The last Water Tiger Year gave us the polio vaccine, the Cuban Missile Crisis, $US530m spent for the first man to orbit the earth, the marvel of Spider-Man, the death of Marilyn Monroe.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
2022 according to the number system of numerology is a number 6 year. The first two digits designate the basis of the year, the last two its influences. In that way it’s a number 2 foundation of control and finding peace in partnerships. with a 22 influence: a powerful master number that symbolises the intuitive, systematic, and practical.
2022 tells us that the stage is set with contentious opposition and the stimulus is of higher spiritual knowledge in the stark realisation that whatever this is that we’re living through, we’re all in together.
That contentious opposition pervades every level, not just The Big Things – it gets down to things like how much we think we need to know in comparison to how much we actually want to know. It’s the seemingly perpetual miscommunication between lovers or neighbours (worse I guess, if you’re both). The end of long-term relationships that can no longer serve another term. That tedious communication from lawyers and major mishaps with your bank.
Understand that you’re not alone. It’s not just you. On every plane we are indeed all in this together. Acknowledge the discord and don’t be dragged down by it; find purpose and good strategies to dissolve the illusion of separateness.
It’s a transition that like any, doesn’t come easily. Anything we ever do takes interest and effort. Then comes the balance of unconscious competence and with that, the harmony of morphogenic resonance. That interconnectedness between organisms and of species collective memories. It accounts for phantom limbs, how dogs know when their owners are coming home, and how we know when someone is staring at us.
It’s like Neuralink technology before it was a technology. A universal device without an implanted device. Sewn in by a robot. With no bedside manner but a demon when it comes to avoiding microvessel damage.
Until maybe Siri lets it know how you’ve been treating your microwave.
2022 is big year of being simply not able to think just of self, but having to find cooperation in those widening divides and embracing that concept that we are our brother’s keeper. Filtering thoughtless realities with an openness to understanding information that might’ve been too confronting, or too challenging before now. Applying a differing perspective, even if it’s by just a degree; putting critical thinking to facts we may have previously derided or denied.
We will speak our mind more than ever. So make it worth listening to.
Dr Trudy Lin certainly is. A young South Australian with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery with Special Needs Dentistry registration. During COVID-19, she self-funded a Supported Independent Living facility to enable people with disability to live within a supportive community in a way most of us take for granted.
The recipient of a 2021 Young Achievers Award, and South Australia’s candidate in the 2022 Young Australian of The Year award, Dr Lin also received a University of Adelaide honorary title.
And all before she’s even 30. Maybe she’s a Water Rooster. Absolutely, there’s plenty to crow about.
Her path to dentistry began when, it seems that even as a child, Trudy Lin recognised that situations can have bigger solutions. Her father had the oral condition of weakened tooth enamel and decay from use of the antibiotic tetracycline. She grew up seeing firsthand, the enormous impact that damaged oral health has on every aspect of person’s life. She saw how the inability to eat, to speak clearly and smile freely affected her father’s physical health with long-term compromised food intake, but also his emotional and social wellbeing. Her youngest brother is autistic. Two grandparents faced the challenge of cancer. It was a young life very geared to empathy and deciding where her dentistry could make the most impact, the most difference.
Deciding to go hard or go home.
The wider importance of having good oral health is proper access to facilities that can maintain and repair it. In a country of more than 18,000 dentists, only fifteen are registered professionals in the area of Special Needs. For Dr Trudy Lin, it’s a path she vows to walk for the whole of her professional career.
It was this influence that impassioned her drive to help people avoid the devastation of poor oral health that set her the first stone of dentistry path. Five years to complete a Bachelor of Dental Surgery for general dentistry. Three years to complete a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry – the specialty training. While continuing to work full time with special needs patients. As well as research thesis commitments, and completion of an Advanced Diploma in Nutrition in 2020.
Basically a third of Trudy Lin’s life so far: a massive eight years, and massive achievement, amid an entire lived experience of health challenges that impact the people you love.
Statistically, one-in-five people Australians live with a disability.
Consider the challenges there are for many of us to maintain those six-monthly dental check-ups. Financial barriers. Competing priorities with work and family. Anxiety and phobias from previous unpleasant dentist experiences. Even the happy and employed find it hard to show up.
Imagine doing it in a wheelchair where there are no ramps. Imagine doing it in a wheelchair, financially constrained, because you’re unable to ever find a job. Imagine having a child with a syndrome that makes them different and not being able to find the differently and specifically skilled, able to provide that specialised care.
Imagine being that kid.
Imagine, if you can, doing any and all of that with a psychiatric illness, or battling complex medical issues. Most able bodied people can’t do it on a bad hair day with a sore thumb from gaming.
It’s this compassion and understanding that continues to impel this young woman toward a lifetime of future awards. Maybe a Nobel Prize, who knows? Aside from her dental practice, her 2022 research aims to increase the opportunities for special needs people to easily access the dental care they need.
And it’s not just a pin-map marking the fifteen Special Needs Dentists across the country. It’s a complex assessment tool to identify the patient’s levels of need that enables immediate referral to the dentist best suited to those intricate and personal requirements. It allows close-to-home care within the community as opposed to being added to a very long waiting list that always means a very long wait.
Dr Lin’s research for developing a public oral health care system right across the country includes patients with the most urgent needs being seen by specialists much sooner.
The team’s goal is create an inclusive society where every person has equal access to excellent oral health care that recognises and caters to their unique needs.
That is pretty impressive.
In that realm of the altruism already sculpting and colouring 2022, is this year’s Young Australian of the Year, Dr Daniel Nour. The founder of Street Side Medics a not-for-profit, free, mobile medical service providing doctors for the homeless. An expanding sector of society and yet anther effect of COVID-19 with rapacious landlords and simply obscene real estate prices.
With four clinics across NSW and 145 volunteers, and similarly to Dr Lin’s patients, Dr Nour’s service provides medical assistance for those facing enormous issues in accessing medical care. Many homeless people don’t have a Medicare card. Or can face the ridiculous demands of government websites and departments in proving who you are to get one. Particularly with most of it requiring an address. And where are you going to keep it? In an empty wallet inside a plastic bag tied to the inside of your shopping trolley?
Here we have another young person choosing to dedicate their area of expertise to helping those chronically dismissed and terminally overlooked. Dr Daniel Nour realised how many homeless people die from easily treated conditions. Like Dr Trudy Lin, his focus is on expanding his brilliant work across the country.
With all the divisiveness, conflict and divergent beliefs across our own country and across the world, let 2022 be the marked beginning of the obvious path for all of us: to do our part in finding the common ground that has us all working together. Specialised dental, and medical healthcare for the disaffected already makes it a better world.
Instead of standing back watching someone hold a barbed wire fence to try and gain balance, these exceptional young professionals are creating communities that actively outstretch warm and open hands, fixing more than just what ails.
Note: All content and media on the Sunbury Dental House website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
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