A talent pool just right for dental hygiene

June 30, 2006
There are some very bright young women out there. Why not steer them toward dental hygiene?

By Mark Hartley

My daughter is one of a kind. But I also know she's part of a large crowd of extremely talented young women in this country. I recently watched her receive her diploma in her high school's graduation ceremony. I was proud of her. She made one B in all of her school years. She aced all the rest of her courses from kindergarten through her senior year. Although I had to lean on my sons every now and then to up their academic performance level, I never had to do that with her. All of her efforts toward excellence were through her own initiative.

She'll make some corporation proud of her, too, some day. She possesses the work ethic they covet. Except, you know, that dime a dozen thing.

The work force is about to be flooded with a large pool of talented women who have similar life stories to tell. They reached the top only to find everyone up there is just like them. The news magazines in recent years have focused on the problem of boys; how are we going to keep them motivated and interested in school, since they're fading fast.

My daughter received one scholarship offer. But it was not the college experience she was looking for, so she'll have a debt, too, for all of her efforts. There's not much reward these days in being a straight-A female student.

But it is awe-inspiring to observe this group of women between the ages of 15 and 25 (and I'm just guessing at the lower age range; this trend could go on for another 20 years). Young women are poised to accomplish so much for this country.

It sure would be nice if dental hygiene tapped into this talent pool, eh? Wouldn't a profession already dominated by women just look that much better if there were a bunch of relentlessly inquisitive young minds guiding the profession into the future?

Even if you're not interested in what the ADHA is trying to accomplish on your behalf, surely you have enough pride (and I know you do, because you write me about it all the time) to want the profession to have a shot at getting the brightest minds interested in dental hygiene.

The ADHA is trying to open up a variety scenarios that would incorporate dental hygienists' skills in arenas other than "clinical hygiene" (not that there's anything wrong with that) — research, public health, corporate, etc.

Support the ADHA. Excite a young woman who is seated in your chair about the possibilities in your profession.

Mark Hartley is the editor of RDH magazine.