Submitted by the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry
Loma Linda University (LLU) School of Dentistry will hold an open house and ribbon cutting on November 28, 2011, in Palm Desert, California. At the event, LLU and School of Dentistry officials will announce the launch of a new dental hygiene associate of science degree program in the Coachella Valley municipality.
Loma Linda University President Richard Hart, M.D., Dr.P.H.—along with School of Dentistry Dean Charles J. Goodacre, D.D.S., M.S.D., and Dental Hygiene Department Chair Kristi Wilkins, R.D.H., M.A.—will host the event.
California State Senator William Emmerson, D.D.S., M.S., a Loma Linda graduate, will honor the ribbon cutting with an official resolution as he shares the dais with College of the Desert President Jerry R. Patton, M.B.A.; Palm Desert Mayor Jeanne Benson; Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Barbara deBoom; and a contingent of ambassadors from Chamber-represented businesses.
Beginning with the fall quarter of 2011, the seven-quarter dental hygiene program will create career pathways for high-paying jobs, while enhancing the availability and quality of oral health care in the Coachella Valley.
The new LLU School of Dentistry program will matriculate 28 students annually, including a large number of students from nearby College of the Desert, where many will receive their general education and prerequisite biomedical science education. University professors—a teaching staff of 7, including a full-time dentist and board-certified hygienists—will provide the dental hygiene science and clinical training for the program.
“The goal of providing this eastern desert community with increased access to dental care and oral health training is exciting,” said Ms. Wilkins. “A dental clinic offering care for underserved groups will also be part of the program,” she added.
Coachella Valley students who master prerequisite courses on a full-time basis can prepare for the dental hygiene training in one year. The dental hygiene degree will require seven quarters over 21 months of full-time training. Students will be eligible both to take the National Dental Hygiene Board written examination after six quarters of dental hygiene training and to sit for the clinical state and/or regional licensing examinations at the conclusion of their dental hygiene training.