My name is Katerine Bran and I am currently taking the practicum seminar course in Farmingdale State College. I am graduating in May with my bachelor’s degree. I am interested in public health and in helping children in underserved communities. I would like to do this by working in government facilities such as schools or other organizations and provide dental screenings, applying fluoride, giving referrals, etc. I am not confined to this idea of working in public health but I have thought about it a lot. I am also interested in volunteering in facilities that offer dental prophylaxis to those who do not have access to dental care. I would like to also have a couple days of the week where I provide dental cleanings in an office. Maybe you can provide some advice on my interests. Thank you for your help!
First of all, this is fantastic to hear 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 serve 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.
I would also say that with a bachelor’s degree, there are many options beyond clinical patient care and would stress that as a RDH, you provide comprehensive oral health care, not just dental cleanings.
It sounds like you are in Massachusetts. You have many resources here.
Sure, I would keep on with your graduate degree in dental hygiene and focus your projects in the areas you mentioned. We have a program at the University of New Mexico that specializes in these areas!
Depending on whether you will stay in New York or move to another state where you plan to work, 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 dental hygienists to provide oral health care just as you describe in your question. Two resources to refer to are: