May 18, 2009

All dental hygiene graduates pass board exam

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- All 2009 graduates of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Dental Hygiene Program passed the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination.

“This shows the dedication that the dental hygiene faculty at SIUC has toward the students and the program in making SIUC one of the best programs in the state,” said Dr. Dwayne Summers, associate clinical professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Program. “I am very proud of our students and faculty here at SIUC’s Dental Hygiene Program.”

Thirty students graduated from the program on May 9. The University’s Dental Hygiene program is a bachelor’s degree program. Students take general education classes the first year and then move into the three-year dental hygiene profession sequence, Summers said.

Summers became interim director of the program in January 2003 and director in August 2006. Since his arrival, he and the staff have looked for ways to improve the program to help students be even more successful in their pursuit of careers as dental hygienists. A big step was the addition of a board review class in 2007, which they have revamped each year since. Other curriculum changes include additional clinic time, providing the students with more hands-on training, Summers said. The results of the changes are obvious, he notes.

The program graduates had a 91 percent pass rate in 2007, a 90 percent pass rate in 2008 and a 100 percent pass rate in 2009. The Dental Hygiene Program is part of the SIUC School of Allied Health within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.