Dental Hygiene

A Message from the Dean

Throughout my years as a dental educator, I have had the privilege of interacting with student leaders. Many of these individuals have volunteered in a leadership role, and some have been elected to these positions by their peers. I have seen some serve for their entire time in our program, and have the privilege of witnessing growth, maturation, and development of leadership skills.

Amanda Abbott

Amanda Abbott’s first day of college came with a lot of change.

The BSDH ’21 candidate’s start at the University of Minnesota was her first day in a big city, her first day of in-person education, and her first time away from her family for an extended amount of time. But she made the leap, moving away from her small town and her 11 siblings with whom she’d been homeschooled because she knew her education would be worth it—and she was ready.

Lorena Vasquez, BSDH '21

Lorena Vasquez, BSDH ’21, is a student ambassador for dental hygiene students at the School of Dentistry. Earlier this week, she showed us what a day in her life looks like as a dental hygiene student. Check out highlights from her day:

She started with a morning class and some time in her favorite study spot.

Five reasons to attend the School of Dentistry

March 15 marks an exciting day in the School of Dentistry admissions journey: today, Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy students will be invited to join the 2021 incoming classes. We offer our heartfelt congratulations to students who have been invited to join the School of Dentistry.

Hiwet Ephrem

For more than a century, the professional and academic discipline of dental hygiene experienced numerous changes and evolutions with many more to come, including the declaration of October as National Dental Hygiene Month.

One person on the forefront of these changes is School of Dentistry clinical professor Hiwet Ephrem, MSDH, RF. While she’s been a faculty member at the School of Dentistry since 2000, her inspiration came two decades earlier working as a dental hygienist in a small North Minneapolis clinic.

Allie Deneen

Allie Deneen believes she has been destined for a career in dentistry since fourth grade when she wrote ‘tooth doctor’ in answer to a question about her future. Her mother held onto that school project. Today, Deneen says her fourth-grade fascination with teeth is what drove her to initially look into careers in dentistry. But it is the impact dental hygiene can have on people that has held her interest.

Deneen will graduate in August with a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.

Dental hygiene student Kabrie Weber (center back) and dental therapy student Phonsuda Chanthavisouk (far right) make rounds at U of M Medical Center with their medical and pharmacy counterparts. Cyndee Stull (far left) coordinates the program.

Our dental hygiene and dental therapy students are now embedded in hospital rounding teams as part of an initiative to create a more integrated approach to in-patient care. 

Funded by a BOLD Ideas grant from the Office of Academic and Clinical Affairs, the initiative brings together students and faculty from medicine and oral health to assess and treat hospital patients more holistically and learn from one another. 

Lorena Vasquez

Lorena Vasquez learned in her high school science classes that the best solutions typically emerge from a strong hypothesis, followed by rigorous experiments. So when she began searching for the ideal college major, she arranged to meet with and shadow a physician’s assistant, a teacher, a dentist, a dental assistant and finally a dental hygienist.

“I am an outgoing person. Dental hygiene was most appealing because you get to spend time with people one on one,” she said. “Your role is prevention and education, and most of the people we see are healthy.”

Everaid Fokim

Everaid Fokim is one of six students in the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry’s dual degree dental hygiene/dental therapy program who received a generous scholarship from the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation.

“The scholarship will significantly reduce my debt at graduation,” said Fokim. “The financial piece was always the biggest deterrent for me. This relieves a lot of stress and enables me to focus on school rather than how to pay for school.”

Give Kids a Smile 2019

University of Minnesota School of Dentistry dental, dental hygiene, dental therapy students, pediatric dentistry residents, staff and faculty came together on Saturday, February 9, at Moos Tower to provide oral health care to underserved children at the 14th annual Give Kids a Smile day.