Philadelphia – This month of October as National Dental Hygiene Month is celebrated, Penn Dental Medicine is pleased to announce the formation of the Dental Hygiene Research & Innovation Fund — a new resource at Penn Dental Medicine for research involving dental hygienists. The Fund was established through a gift from a dental hygiene alumna of Penn Dental Medicine with the goal of continuing to maintain a dental hygiene presence within the School and advancing the profession.
While Penn Dental Medicine no longer has a dental hygiene program, many of the 1,600 dental hygiene alumni retain strong ties to the School, and Penn Dental Medicine remains committed to partnering with alumni and dental hygiene colleagues in the profession to pursue the common goals of health promotion, disease prevention, improving access to care, and advancing evidence-based research.
Through the Fund, dental hygienists can become a Dental Hygiene Scholar at Penn Dental Medicine, participating in one of the School’s current research projects. The Fund will provide a stipend to the Scholar for 6 to 12 months, depending on the nature of the study, and will contribute to the cost of mounting the research project.
“In creating this Fund, Penn Dental Medicine is issuing a call to action to our faculty to explore the many ways dental hygienists contribute to patient wellbeing and can be partners in improving dental practice and outcomes,” says Dr. Joan Gluch, Division Chief and Professor of Clinical Community Oral Health at Penn Dental Medicine, who is coordinating the identification of research projects and Scholars.
“Presently, we are connecting with dental hygiene programs in the area to make them aware of this opportunity for their students and also identifying research projects within the School,” explains Dr. Gluch. It is anticipated that the first Dental Hygiene Scholar will be starting at Penn Dental Medicine by January 2017. “This will be a valuable resource for the School’s research efforts and a great learning opportunity for the Scholars.”
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