Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Students Affirm Commitment at Ceremony

They have just completed a first semester of rigorous learning, and on Jan. 7, members of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry’s dental hygiene Class of 2008 donned their blue coats and affirmed their commitment to advancing the public’s oral health.

The School of Dentistry’s first-ever Dental Hygiene Commitment Ceremony took place the afternoon of Jan. 7 at the Medical Biomolecular Research Building’s Van Wyk Auditorium.

“As these dental hygiene students are entering the area of patient care this semester, we thought it very appropriate to recognize the seriousness of this step and congratulate them for their sincere commitment to improving the health of our state’s citizens,” said Dr. Sally Mauriello, director of the Dental Hygiene Programs.

Dr. Sally Mauriello, director of the Dental Hygiene Programs, stands with members of the Class of 2008, including (left to right) Seung Jeon, Sarah McPeters and InAe Kim.

Mauriello offered introductory remarks at the ceremony, and then Dean John N. Williams spoke about the “sacred relationship” between patients and those health-care providers who care for patients. “We need to recognize the tremendous accomplishments you have made as students and the joys you will experience in your careers.”

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Dental Hygiene Programs are among the few such programs affiliated with a university, Williams added. In addition, the program is fully accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Erin Ross, president of the dental hygiene Class of 2008, gave the student address, encouraging the other members of her class – 35 in all – to use the next three semesters to strengthen their skills and knowledge. Ross is a Raleigh native who received her bachelor’s degree in biology from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Donna Reed Collins, president of the North Carolina Dental Hygiene Association, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker and offered three critical success factors to the Class of 2008: always respect patients, be professional in all aspects of life and be flexible.

“By doing things like this, you will become an invaluable employee, and people will look to you as a leader.”

At this point in the ceremony, dental hygiene professor Charlotte Peterson asked the Class of 2008 to put on their blue coats and proceed to the stage to receive congratulations from Williams; Dr. Ken May, the School’s vice dean; Dr. Ronald Strauss, chairman of the Department of Dental Ecology; and Dr. Douglas Solow, associate dean for clinical affairs.

From left to right, first row: Amy Herron, Seung Jeon and InAe Kim. Second row: Dean John N. Williams, Amy Nguyen and Dr. Sally Mauriello. Third row: Uyen Le, Yee Vang and Roberto Varela.

The students then recited the dental hygienist’s pledge and affirmed their commitment to do the following:

  • Possess the skills and knowledge needed to provide optimal dental hygiene patient care while valuing and adhering to the ethical beliefs as stated by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association Code of Ethics.
  • Promote the values of optimal oral health as related to general health and overall wellness to all patients.
  • Embrace an interdisciplinary role within the health-care system and assess, plan, implement and evaluate oral health-care programs and activities for diverse population groups while facilitating access to care and services.
  • Assess, plan, implement and evaluate treatment in the promotion of oral and systemic health using an evidence-based approach.
  • Value the dental hygiene profession through career growth and development and commitment to lifelong learning

Strauss provided closing remarks. “I promised you that you would have a semester you would never forget, and here you are, and it happened so quickly.”

He commended the Class of 2008 for its hard work within a rigorous program and the students’ commitment to promoting oral health within North Carolina’s underserved populations.

Strauss then thanked the class members’ family and friends in attendance – “without these folks, you would not be sitting in the front of this auditorium.”

And then he congratulated the Class of 2008.

“I’m thrilled for you. You all look great in these coats, and it will begin very shortly.”

A reception followed the School of Dentistry’s first-ever Dental Hygiene Commitment Ceremony, and the dental hygiene Class of 2008 enjoyed time with their family and friends, and School faculty, staff and administrators.