The Lone Star College-Kingwood
Hygiene Program strives to develop competent dental hygienists
who will provide skilled and compassionate care in their chosen communities.
Since 2004, the department has offered a learning environment that allows
students to grow to the full extent of their ability and succeed in a
competitive work environment.
“I am proud to be a part of
the dental hygiene program at LSC-Kingwood and am grateful for administration,
faculty and staff who are focused on student success,” says Joanna Allaire, M.D.H.,
Dental Hygiene Program Director.
In August 2017, the program,
along with others, nearly came to a halt when LSC-Kingwood took on 48 inches of
biohazard flood water due to Hurricane Harvey. The dental hygiene clinic
received more than three feet of contaminated water, forcing the program to
relocate classes and services to an off-campus site.
“Faculty, staff and students
were heartbroken to see not only the dental hygiene program, but the majority
of the campus destroyed by this catastrophic storm,” Prof. Allaire says. “When
it became clear of the extensive amount of damages that we faced, we had to
find a space to build a temporary clinic for students to complete their
During the storm and recovery
phases, the program faced tough challenges, including moving courses from a
16-week semester to 12 weeks, replacing expensive instruments for students,
finding a temporary location and keeping the morale high. To meet these
challenges, campus leaders leased space within a local physical therapy clinic
and worked with Patterson Dental to install 15 dental chairs and create a
sterilization and lab area.
“I think that the biggest
lessons students learned during the storm/recovery process were resilience and
flexibility,” Prof. Allaire says. “They learned that they could be successful
despite tremendous challenges, which are important attributes in any
Additional recovery methods
included program leaders reaching out to other dental and dental hygiene
schools, vendors, and organizations like the ADEA; borrowing or using donated
equipment and supplies to teach preclinical courses and equip the clinic; and working
with publishers to provide electronic textbooks to students who lost theirs.
During this phase, the program learned a vital lesson—organization.
“We learned to be prepared! It
is essential to have a comprehensive inventory of everything the program owns,”
she says. “Since we lost all of our paper records, we now save all documents in
As the program continues to
rebuild, employees and students proudly boast a sustained 100% pass rate on the
National Dental Hygiene Board Exam and clinical board exams—a statistic that
remains since the beginning of the program. The LSC-Kingwood
Dental Hygiene Program still operates at a nearby facility and
will transfer back to the campus when the new Health Professions Center opens
in 2021. The state-of-the-art facility will accommodate growth from 15 to 24
dental students each year.
of Bill Van Rysdam, Manager of Media Relations, Lone Star College
Published on May 8, 2019