Wai-Sum Leung, BSDH ’19, RDH, Master’s in Denal Hygiene Education Candidate 2021, was selected for the American Dental Hygienists Association’s Graduate Student Clinician’s Research Program for her research, “Implementing Environmental Sustainability: Educational Intervention in Dental Hygiene Instruction.” Leung’s thesis committee includes chair Beth Kornegay, RDH, MS, Tiffanie White, RDH, MS, and Lindsay Dubbs, PhD.
Leung said her research was inspired by her undergraduate studies in dental hygiene and environmental studies.
“I’m really excited and honored to be selected and given the opportunity to share my research with a wider audience,” said Leung. “My research topic, environmental sustainability in dentistry (ESD), is not a popular topic in the U.S. but it is extremely important.”
“Climate change is the biggest crisis facing today and future generations. Prioritizing sustainability in dentistry promotes public health and prevents adverse health outcomes. Other healthcare fields (i.e. nursing, internal medicine etc.) are turning their attention to sustainable healthcare/healthcare education and dentistry should be a part of this movement.”
“I hope that my research can be a catalyst for change in U.S. dentistry and dental/dental hygiene curriculum where ESD will become standardized practice.”
The aim of the ADHA’s graduate student clinician research program is to promote dental hygiene research by supporting one graduate dental hygiene student from each accredited graduate dental hygiene program in presenting their research ADHA’s Annual Conference in June.
The program provides graduate dental hygiene students with the opportunity to compete for research awards and recognition.
“In continuing with the tradition of exceptional graduate students, Wai-Sum has shown a remarkable dedication, innovation, and passion for discovery,” said Director of the Graduate Program in Dental Hygiene Education, Jennie Brame, RDH, MS. “She demonstrates the true spirit of our school’s mission and values, and strives to be impactful and leads by a desire to transform oral health education.”
Leung graduated from the UNC Adams School of Dentistry with a Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene in 2019 and is currently a candidate for her Master of Science in dental hygiene education.
Founded in 1923, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of the more than 185,000 registered dental hygienists across the country.