USC to close dental hygiene program
02 Feb 21
Dental school vows to continue supporting profession with career advancement training opportunities.
THE HERMAN OSTROW SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY OF USC has announced it will no longer be matriculating new dental hygiene students, making the Class of 2021 the last to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from USC.
The move comes as USC undergraduate admission standards continue to rise, making it more difficult for prospective students to be admitted into USC.
“The higher admission standards were making it much more difficult to fill our dental hygiene classes with the right candidates to continue our longstanding tradition of excellence,” said Diane Melrose, director of the dental hygiene program.
The decision also comes as “new programs that offer both a bachelor’s degree and certificate in dental hygiene opened in recent years at a significantly lower cost,” the announcement said.
An ongoing commitment
Despite the decision, the USC dental school remains committed to supporting the profession.
“We aim to explore new ways to elevate the profession while supporting our community of amazing USC dental hygienists,” the school’s announcement said. “We are grateful to our faculty members who have helped to produce a caliber of dental hygienist like no other, and to our graduates who continue to be the most sought after in the profession.”
The dental hygiene program began in 1928 as a two-year certificate program. In the 1940s, dental hygiene students had the choice between pursuing a certificate or a bachelor’s of science degree in dental hygiene. Then in 1962, the program became a bachelor’s degree program only.
“We urge on our dental hygiene schools the conduct of such courses of study as will not only make technically proficient dental hygienists, but also produce women who can educate and think in terms of highest service, remembering that education is not a static thing, but is ever changing to meet the requirements of the people,” said USC dental hygiene program founder Cora Ueland in 1929 about the move to a bachelor’s degree.
Over the years, class sizes have fluctuated from just two or three students during the war years to 53 students in 1996. In the Class of 2021, there are only 20 students.
“Even if the program is winding down, we, as educators, are not,” Melrose said. “With this last class, we intend to impart the same superior knowledge, skills and competence that the world has come to know USC dental hygienists for.”
A new grant will bring together multidisciplinary researchers to understand jaw joint degeneration and pain from the inside out. THE JAW JOINT IS A LITTLE LIKE THE KNEE: It has a disc in the middle and then two bony structures that articulate together to open and close the jaw. But, with all that talking and […]
A new Cell Stem Cell publication by Ostrow researcher Jianfu Chen shows how the lymphatic system and skull stem cells may help kids with a rare birth defect. CRANIOSYNOSTOSIS IS A BIRTH DEFECT in which the bones in a baby’s skull fuse too early — before the brain is fully formed. It happens in 1 […]
WE LOST AN ICON AND PILLAR in USC Orthodontics history. Donald L. Tuverson passed away peacefully in his home in Point Loma, San Diego, in January 2023. Dr. Tuverson was in the private practice of orthodontics in Pasadena, Calif., until he retired at the end of 1999. He was known for his attention to the fine […]
Amy Merrill-Brugger has been awarded a second grant to study bent bone syndrome — and help uncover some fundamental truths about joints in the skull. IF YOU’VE EVER HELD A BABY, you probably remember soft spots on their heads — space for the developing skulls to grow around the brain. When the system works correctly, […]
Chai joins a list of illustrious scientists in the award and hopes his research will impact patients’ lives. ASSOCIATE DEAN OF RESEARCH Yang Chai PhD ’91, DDS ’96 has been awarded the 2023 Paul Goldhaber Award by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The highest honor given by the school, the award goes to a […]