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Highly Respected Dental Hygienist Is Mourned

Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS, a graduate faculty member and professor emeritus in the Department of Dental Hygiene at Idaho State University (ISU) in Pocatello, has died.

Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS, a graduate faculty member and professor emeritus in the Department of Dental Hygiene at Idaho State University (ISU) in Pocatello, has died. She was 64. Bowen passed away in Pocatello on February 17 with loved ones by her side following a brief illness.

Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS
Denise M. Bowen, RDH, MS, passed away on February 17.

Well-known for her expertise in nonsurgical periodontal therapy, oral self-care, research methodology, and dental hygiene education, Bowen was instrumental in helping to build the ISU Department of Dental Hygiene to one of national and international prominence.

When Bowen joined the ISU dental hygiene program in 1976, she was part of a small department consisting of three full-time faculty members and a chair. Bowen and her colleagues were successful in doubling the size of the department by writing a grant in the 1970s. She went on to serve as chair of the department for 12 years.

At ISU, Bowen mentored colleagues and students in research and scholarly work for more than 35 years, serving as thesis advisor for 18 graduate students, 15 of whom published their research in refereed journals.

Bowen is widely known for her contributions to dental hygiene research, and was honored for such in Dimensions of Dental Hygiene’s “Six Dental Hygienists You Want to Know“ in December 2016. She authored more than 50 refereed journal articles. Bowen contributed a feature on the use of lasers in nonsurgical periodontal therapy in the February 2017 issue of Dimensions and was currently working on an article regarding the role of antibiotics in nonsurgical periodontal therapy. She was also the co-editor of the fifth edition of the popular textbook Darby and Walsh’s Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice.

Bowen served as a member of Dimensions’ Editorial Advisory Board; a consultant to the dental industry and numerous government, university, and private organizations; and as a member of the National Advisory Panel for the National Center for Dental Hygiene Research.

Bowen earned degrees in dental hygiene from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She received the ISU Outstanding Researcher Award, and professional achievement awards from ISU, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, and the Idaho Dental Hygienists’ Association.

Bowen is survived by her partner, Tom Dahlquist; twin sister, Diane (Tom) Borden; sisters Lyn (Clyde) Donohugh and Barbara (Ken) Whitlock; cousins; nieces; nephews; grandnieces; and a grandnephew.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Denise M. Bowen Scholarship for Dental Hygiene honoring her memory are welcome. Donations may be sent to the ISU Foundation, STOP 8050, Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8050.

From Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. March 2019;17(3):10.

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