Major initiatives to be highlighed at ADHA annual session

June 13, 2007
Unveiling a new brand is among initiatives to be addressed at meeting June 20-27 in New Orleans.

CHICAGO--early 900 registered dental hygienists from across the United States will discuss key trends in their profession June 20-27 at the 84th annual session of the American Dental Hygienists' Association in New Orleans.

ADHA unveils new brand at opening ceremonies
During the past two years ADHA has been immersed in the development of its new brand, a vital tool for allowing the association to evolve and remain relevant with the current professional, and personal, trends and needs of dental hygienists.

Through the branding process ADHA was able to identify the many needs and wants of both current and potential members. By identifying these needs ADHA is better able to position itself as the only organization that truly provides a solution to the challenges that all dental hygienists face.

After an extensive search, ADHA selected Tim Prosch of Contact Points as the consultant to lead the association through the branding process. A veteran with a track record of success in association branding efforts, Prosch provided ADHA with a 360 degree view of how the association is perceived in the marketplace, not only by dental hygienist members, but non-member hygienists, dental hygiene students, and dentists from around the country. The results of this research guided the branding process from beginning to end.

The result of the two-year process--ADHA's new brand--is set to be unveiled during opening ceremonies. Prosch will present the new brand in conjunction with ADHA staff and leadership.

ADHA releases draft competencies for the advanced dental hygiene practitioner
Developed as a response to disparities in access to oral health care across the United States, the Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioner is a midlevel practitioner proposed by ADHA as one solution to the access to dental care issue.

Modeled after the successful nurse practitioner and nurse midwife, the ADHP requires a masters' degree and would be responsible for delivering primary dental care within a multidisciplinary health care model.

An ADHA task force spent two years developing the draft competencies intended to serve as a national framework for the knowledge, skills and attitudes expected of the ADHP.

They establish benchmarks for outcomes assessment and guide the development of curriculum content for this practitioner. Institutions of higher education will develop the ADHP graduate curriculum based on this national framework. ADHA will be distributing this document to the broad communities of interest for review and comment prior to finalization.

The advanced practice model, with its emphasis on dentist and advanced dental hygiene practitioner collaboration, has the potential to serve populations characterized as low-income, underserved, and unserved. This plan builds on the strengths of the existing dental workforce and supports the value that advanced education is essential for delivering quality, safe, cost-effective oral health care.

Ultimately, education, prevention, early diagnosis, early intervention, and communication among dentists and advanced dental hygiene practitioners could be the foundation for managing untreated dental disease and improving oral health for many Americans.

ADHA releases draft standards for clinical dental hygiene practice
Dental hygienists, as healthcare professionals, consistently seek to maintain their level of knowledge and skills. With increased focus on evidence based decision making, the Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice have been developed by ADHA as a framework for guiding the provision of care to patients.

An impetus for the development of the standards was requests to the ADHA from practicing dental hygienists, dental hygiene societies and educational programs asking for guidance. In some instances, dental hygienists were seeking assurance that they were providing excellent care to their patients. In other instances, the dental hygienist sought guidance for the dental hygiene process of care to share with their employer or patients.

The Standards for Clinical Dental Hygiene Practice were developed by an ADHA task force who reviewed standards from a variety of health and non-health professionals, in the United States and Canada, along with feedback from members, the ADHA Board of Trustees and key leadership groups.

ADHA was grateful for the thoughtful review and valuable suggestions from various stakeholders throughout the process. ADHA will be distributing this document to the broad communities of interest for review and comment prior to finalization.

The standards can serve as a benchmark for practitioners in their day-to-day patient care activities. Additionally, the standards can be used by a dental team to evaluate their comprehensive patient care activities, assess quality of care and identify areas needing improvement or change.

As we continue to identify the relationship between oral health and systemic diseases, for example, these standards will provide an outstanding resource for dental hygiene care. The document supports the comprehensive approach that dental hygienists take in caring for patients.

The standards assist in supporting the importance of dental hygienists as members of multidisciplinary teams due to the nature of the care that is provided by the profession.

For more information on any of these topics, visit American Dental Hygienists' Association.