Bulletin of Dental Education

News from University of Maryland’s Division of Dental Hygiene

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By Jacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, M.S.

Interesting events are happening at the University of Maryland Baltimore College of Dental Surgery’s Division of Dental Hygiene.

 Smith Island Outreach 

Each summer, three rising senior dental hygiene students and a faculty member from the University of Maryland satellite campus in Princess Anne travel by boat to Smith Island on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to provide dental hygiene care to island residents. Smith Island's population decreases each year due to lack of employment and the slow decline of the crabbing industry. The approximately 200 residents are underserved and in dire need of dental care. The Hoffman Clinic on the island is equipped with two dental chairs, allowing the students to provide routine dental hygiene care including blood pressure screening, oral cancer screening, radiographs, oral health education, scaling and root planing, prophylaxes, and fluoride applications.

Multidisciplinary Education, Service, and Research in the University of Maryland B.S. Degree Completion Program 

The B.S. Degree Completion Dental Hygiene Program at the University of Maryland (UMD) offers unique practicums and special courses in areas of students’ self-identified interests. Students design their own curricula under the supervision of the Director of the Degree Completion Program.

One student partnered with a UMD School of Nursing faculty member to integrate an oral health component into a preexisting public health nursing elective. The student was able to assess, plan, introduce, and integrate evidence-based oral health education. The student also partnered with nursing faculty and students to provide community outreach for underserved populations in south Baltimore. The student’s initiatives have enabled subsequent collaborations between the Division of Dental Hygiene in the UMD Dental School, the M.S. program in Dental Hygiene, and the UMD School of Nursing.

Another degree-completion dental hygiene student has partnered with a dental hygiene site supervisor through a hospital–based special care dentistry practicum at the University of Maryland Medical System’s Greenebaum Cancer Center. The student is gaining specialized knowledge in the care and management of patients with multiple myeloma and other cancers.  With the site supervisor (who possesses expertise in medical oncology), the student will write a case report on multiple myeloma treatment. Through the practicum, the student has worked in the Greenebaum Cancer Center’s dental clinic and participated in grand rounds with the medical team responsible for oncology care at the University of Maryland Hospital.

In the “Issues in Health Care Delivery Course," students and faculty discuss current events and issues that influence the practice of dental hygiene. This year, a debate helped the students understand two subjects they may discuss with clients in clinical practice, amalgam restorations, and water fluoridation.

The students were assigned to one of four groups: pro-amalgam restorations, anti-amalgam restorations, pro-water fluoridation, and anti-water fluoridation. The students searched for current and historical articles about their topics and used them as points in their arguments. All students observed one of the debates and participated in the other. The students who observed served as judges and voted for the team that presented the more persuasive argument. In the end, students learned from each other in a fun, interactive assignment.

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