New ADHA White Paper Offers Insights on Changes in Dental Hygiene Education

Posted on September 22, 2015

Chicago (Sept. 22, 2015) — Beginning Sept. 24, 2015, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association will be sharing a landmark white paper, “Transforming Dental Hygiene Education and the Profession for the 21st Century,” with the oral health and health care communities, allied stakeholders and others committed to improving the public’s oral and overall health. The white paper, which is being distributed with the support of Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., makers of LISTERINE®, details how the outcomes from the September 2013 “Transforming Dental Hygiene Education, Proud Past, Unlimited Future” symposium helped shape the vision for the future of the dental hygiene profession — and how that vision is being brought to fruition through changes taking place both in the educational system, and in the larger framework of the overall health care system.

“This white paper highlights the vast transformation taking place in oral health and provides evidence that changes are needed to improve health outcomes for the public,” said ADHA President Jill Rethman, RDH, BA. “Today’s dental hygiene graduates must be prepared to collaborate in an increasingly interprofessional health care environment. This document illustrates the need for not only a transformed dental hygiene curriculum, but a transformed oral health care system that puts the patient first and optimizes the preventive and therapeutic services dental hygienists can provide.”

Issues related to the changes needed in dental hygiene education are explored throughout the white paper, and those issues highlight the importance of changing dental hygiene education and transforming the way graduates are prepared for the future. This paper discusses how by improving the curricula and supplying dental hygiene students with a broad-based, well-rounded education that challenges them to  think critically, future dental hygienists will be better equipped to serve the public’s overall health and wellness needs.

The public’s oral health care needs are becoming more diverse and more complex. The scientific evidence supporting the role of oral health care services in achieving and maintaining oral and overall health continues to evolve. These facts put dental hygiene educators on the front line, preparing the next generation of dental hygienists to enter a health care environment that is radically different from just a few years ago. According to ADHA Chief Executive Officer Ann Battrell, MSDH, “By developing and instituting a new educational curriculum, grounded in science and with an interprofessional focus on contemporary delivery strategies, we can go a long way to improving access to care for the public and advancing the dental hygiene profession.”

The document is intended to facilitate dialogue among a variety of interested stakeholder groups and continue to look for ways to advance dental hygiene curriculum for the benefit of the public.

“The American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s innovative research agenda, commitment to transforming the dental hygienist profession and positively impacting public health care aligns with the LISTERINE® brand’s dedication to oral care,” said Larry Page, Director of U.S. Marketing for the LISTERINE® Brand, “We’re proud to support the evolution of dental hygiene education. This work reflects the important need to prepare students for the increasing demands of a dental hygienist.”

The white paper is being distributed in conjunction with the ADHA’s Access magazine, which readers will begin receiving on Sept. 24, 2015. For more information about the ADHA’s “Transforming Dental Hygiene Education and the Profession for the 21st Century” white paper, or to find out how you may receive a digital copy of the document, please contact ADHA director of communications John Iwanski at or by calling 312/440-8900.

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