USC’s dental hygiene program to undergo changes for fall trimester
19 Aug 19
Beginning with the Fall 2019 trimester, USC’s dental hygiene program will undergo a number of noteworthy changes.
First off, class sizes will be smaller, with 20 students comprising the incoming Class of 2021 this fall.
“We’re very excited because there’s going to be more personalized education and more one-on-one time between students and faculty,” said Diane Melrose, professor of clinical dentistry and chair of the dental hygiene program.
“The program is clinically the best in the United States, but we’re enhancing it to make it even better.”
There are 330 accredited dental hygiene programs across the nation, with 27 located in California. The majority of them provide an associate’s degree at a lower cost, but none of them offer students the vast opportunities available at a major university like USC. Only two other dental hygiene programs in California are housed within a dental school.
“We want to emphasize our dental hygiene program’s level of expertise and the advantage we have with it being housed within the dental school,” Melrose explained.
The new model’s goal is to integrate dental hygiene students with dental students, so they are working side by side, as they would in a dental office. Dental hygiene and dental students will also take courses and seminars together.
“It’ll be a win-win situation for both the dental hygiene and dental students, because it’s very important they learn to work together as a team in order to have a successful practice and provide optimal care to the patients,” Melrose said.
The new model’s goal is to integrate dental hygiene students with dental students, so they are working side by side, as they would in a dental office.
In the future, there will also be opportunities for dental hygiene students to collaborate with students from other professions at USC, including pharmacists, social workers, physician assistants and occupational and physical therapists.
“Healthcare is increasingly becoming interprofessional, and we want our students to be prepared to work with other disciplines,” Melrose said. “Collaboration between professionals can lead to an optimal treatment plan and care. It will also broaden the student’s educational experience and knowledge.”
The USC dental hygiene program places a strong emphasis on its students becoming leaders in the profession. “It is our goal that our students be prepared to promote our profession in different ways, such as through advocacy, creating community programs and becoming administrators and educators.” Melrose said. “We are excited about our new model and the opportunity to graduate students who will advance our profession for the future.”
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