Bulletin of Dental Education

Taking Steps to Shine at Howard Community College

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Howard Community College LogoThe Howard Community College (HCC) Dental Hygiene Program, located in Columbia, MD, has been fully accredited since 2016. Since then, the faculty and staff have worked hard to ensure that students receive a well-rounded experience and are ready for the dental hygiene profession. They have encouraged innovative thinking to create “out of the box” experiences to enhance education and the students’ experiences. 

An example of this innovative approach is the development of an Educator’s Workshop, where dental hygiene educators can come to share ideas; outreach opportunities for alumni to participate in activities sponsored by the program; and the implementation of a service-learning program, where students take part in 12 hours of community service. Throughout the two semesters, students are strongly encouraged to take part in various outreach opportunities. Community organizations have reached out to the program, requesting help in partnering with the college to conduct various health screenings and oral hygiene instructions to underserved populations. 

Howard CC Photo 1Students have also been active in community events. Students volunteered at the North Laurel Community Center in Howard County, MD, and provided 100 free dental screenings to underserved members of the community who were considered low income and without access to affordable dental care. The event, hosted by the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services, also offered general health and counseling services. In addition to screening participants for oral cancer, dental caries and periodontal disease, students provided blood pressure screenings and oral hygiene instructions. 

A second event involved students partnering with the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network to provide free dental hygiene services for residents of Howard County. The students worked with fellow alumni and gained experience in providing dental hygiene services to underserved populations. Last semester, HCC students were asked to attend a session at the local Howard County Library and demonstrate oral hygiene instructions to a group of 18 patients who were physically and mentally disabled. Students also take part in handing out free toothbrushes, toothpaste and flyers advertising the Dental Hygiene Center to patrons at a local mall. 

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As with most programs, students are encouraged to conduct research related to dental hygiene topics and submit poster session presentations. HCC students have taken it one step further, presenting their research at the Greater New York Dental Meetings in 2018. Twelve students will be presenting at the same meeting this month. One student was so encouraged with the publication of her poster that she chose to continue her research into teledentistry and published a literature review for HCC’s academic journal, Journal of Research in Progress.  

Another area of focus is the continued involvement in the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). To date, seven graduates have served as representatives at the state and local levels of the ADHA. With the program’s ongoing commitment to serving the community, it was exciting to see the Student Club of the ADHA receive the Howard Community College Club of the Year Award in 2019. 

Courtesy of Susan Seibel RDH, M.S., Chair, Dental Hygiene, Howard Community College

Published on Nov. 13, 2019

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