Several dental hygiene programs expose students to work in underserved communities, which may spark a passion for public health. But how do dental hygienists launch a career in this field? Here is some advice from public health dental hygienists on how to find a position in a community setting.
“There is such need for public health dental hygienists! At the local level, I would suggest you reach out to your local health department to see if they have an oral health program and any other community-based programs that support the underserved such as Early Head Start, Head Start, WIC, and home visiting programs (to name a few). At the state level, you could reach out to your state’s oral health coalition and/or state public health department’s oral health program.”
—Katy Battani, RDH, MS
Project manager of the Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement Program with the Office of Oral Health at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; dental outreach coordinator with the Harford County Health Department in Edgewood, Maryland; and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s “Six Dental Hygienists You Want to Know” for “Mover and Shaker” in December 2015
“I would connect with the state’s public health department as well as the dental licensing entity and/or the dental hygienists’ association in the state. Direct access allows dental hygienists in many states to provide oral health care directly to patients. Two resources to refer to are: adha.org and oralhealthworkforce.org.”
—Colleen M. Brickle, RDH, RF, EdD
Dean of health sciences at Normandale Community College in Minneapolis, and Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s “Six Dental Hygienists You Want to Know” for “Mover and Shaker” in December 2010