October 26, 2005

Contact: Angela Heisel (505) 272-3651;Jenny Savage (505) 272-3690

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The University of New Mexico played host to a national congregation of dental hygienists from across the country looking for guidance in a future of unprecedented power in the dental public health arena. Recently, dental hygienists have been granted the power to practice without supervision of a dentist. The effect of this shift in power will filter through the dental care delivery system.

The conference, held late September, used an interactive approach to focus on the strategies dental hygienists would need to develop in order to become public health providers, as well as posing questions, ideas, problems and teaching tools.

In the United States , oral health and disparity are growing problems. "If we become actively involved in coming up with solutions to oral health care and the way it is delivered in the United States , we can make a positive difference," said Christine Nathe, graduate program director at the UNM division of dental hygiene. "There is no better place to start educating than through the next cadre of dental hygienists."