UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PROGRAM EXPANDS DENTAL WORKFORCE
The University of Hawaii (UH) at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene has received federal funding to implement an expanded function dental hygiene (EFDH) program in order to improve access to much-needed dental care for young children from birth to age 5.
The University of Hawaii (UH) at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene has received federal funding to implement an expanded function dental hygiene (EFDH) program in order to improve access to much-needed dental care for young children from birth to age 5. UH at Mānoa was awarded a 5-year, $1.5 million grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration. Hawaii has a high prevalence of dental caries among its pediatric population. According to the Hawaii Department of Health’s 2016 third grade surveillance report, 71% of third graders have dental caries, with 22% experiencing untreated decay.
The program’s goal is to increase the dental workforce serving young children in underserved areas by developing a post-baccalaureate EFDH certificate program for licensed dental hygienists, and to improve dental hygienists’ comfort and knowledge in providing pediatric dental hygiene services. The UH at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene currently offers a 4-year baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene. The two-semester EFDH certificate program will recruit recent dental hygiene graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds and those from neighbor islands, and will provide academic and tuition support. The project will graduate 15 EFDH certificate students by the summer of 2022.
The program’s principal investigator Deborah J. Mattheus, PhD, CPNP, APRN-Rx, assistant professor at UH at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, explains, “EFDH graduates specifically trained to care for young children within the community utilizing mobile dental units will allow for the provision of oral health assessment, education, and preventive care to children residing in underserved areas in the state. They will also enable many more children to have early and frequent contact with an oral health provider. The focus areas for care will be Early-Head Start sites; Head-Start sites, including those in elementary schools; women, infants, and children (WIC) clinics; and federally qualified health centers.”
The curriculum will include developmental, social, and behavioral instruction with an emphasis on dental education, assessment, diagnosis, and delivery of preventive services. The first certificate students will begin classes in August 2018.
From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. August 2017;15(8):13.