The Star-Herald

Local dentist to lead state dental board

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Dr. Norma Desjardins, who practices in Presque Isle, is the new president-elect of the Maine Dental Association Board of Directors following the organization’s annual business meeting in June.

 For the first time in the MDA’s history, which spans more than 150 years, all three executive positions on the board of directors are held by women. In addition to Desjardins as president-elect, Dr. Heather Keeling, who practices in Portland, is president, and Dr. Shanna Gagnon, who practices in Farmingdale, is vice president.

 “Being part of the MDA is a significant part of my work life and my career,” Desjardins said. “Serving the MDA members and the people of Maine, our patients, is a true honor. It’s a lot of work, but so worth it. And to do it with these two female colleagues as my co-officers is like hitting a grand slam.”

She added, “If our leadership inspires even one young person to consider a career in dentistry, or to just know that ‘she or he can do it,’ whatever that may be, then we all benefit, don’t we?”

 A native of Cyr Plantation, Desjardins and her seven siblings grew up on a family potato farm. She graduated from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1992. She began practicing general dentistry in Van Buren, then moved to Presque Isle, where she was an owner at Academy Dental for 21 years. 

While serving on the Health Services Advisory Committee of the Aroostook County Action Program, Desjardins became aware that thousands of County children were not receiving routine preventive and restorative dental care. She recruited the help of her husband and several community members and founded a private nonprofit dental office, the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic of Presque Isle. 

Recently, she retired from private practice and is continuing to direct St. Apollonia. Desjardins has also served as vice president of the MDA Board of Directors.

 Incorporated in 1867, the Maine Dental Association is a professional membership organization of licensed dentists. For more information, go to www.medental.org.

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