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Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene Celebrates 40 Years

As part of Homecoming 2009, Old Dominion University's Gene W. Hirschfeld School of Dental Hygiene is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its first graduating class of dental hygienists in 1969.

On Saturday, Nov. 7, between the homecoming parade and football game, alumni and friends of the School of Dental Hygiene are invited to an open house (11 a.m. to noon) in the Health Sciences Building, located at the corner of Hampton Boulevard and 46th Street.

Participants will be able to tour the Sofia and David Konikoff Dental Hygiene Care Facility - a working clinic that serves patients from all demographic groups.

Michele Darby, professor, eminent scholar, graduate program director and chair of the School of Dental Hygiene, has been at ODU for almost the entire 40 years of the school's existence. She's seen many changes in the program over the years.

"One of the biggest changes is this wonderful, state-of-the-art Dental Hygiene Care Facility that has been created at ODU," Darby said.

The clinic schedules about 6,000 appointments annually, and provides services such as health history and blood pressure assessment, oral cancer screening and dental/periodontal charting, and dietary assessment and nutritional counseling, along with health promotion, soft tissue management and tooth care that dental hygienists provide.

"The profession of dental hygiene has evolved and grown tremendously in the past 40 years. Our school has led that growth," Darby said.

Those attending the open house will also be able to tour ODU's Dental Hygiene Research Center, the only research center in the country attached to a dental hygiene school, and the dental materials laboratory.

ODU's dental hygiene program offers comprehensive care from September through June. Its services are available to university students, faculty and staff, and to members of the local community.

The goal of the staff at the Konikoff Dental Hygiene Care Facility is to assist individuals in eliminating and preventing oral disease and in maintaining optimal health, Darby said. The facility is staffed and supervised by licensed dental hygienists and dentists. Dental hygiene students, who provide the oral health care, have extensive education and training and have demonstrated competence in the clinical services before treating the public.

This article was posted on: November 4, 2009

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