Penn College Dedicates Technology-Driven Dental Hygiene Facility
The clinic is the hub for hands-on learning in the college’s dental hygiene majors and provides low-cost dental care for the community.
“Having the joy of ‘living through’ three dental hygiene clinics on this campus is quite a milestone,” said Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour. “I am so proud of this new and improved facility. ‘State-of-the-art’ does not do it justice. It’s beautiful, functional and technology-driven – a great addition to our campus.”
Gilmour’s career at the college began as a faculty member in the dental hygiene program. Also speaking at the dedication were alumni David Tule, ’80, a registered dental hygienist for Bryden & Kessel Family Dentistry; Megan Brightbill, ’93, ’01, dental hygiene program director for Harrisburg Area Community College; and Karen Miller, ’11, ’13, an international dental hygienist and humanitarian project coordinator.
The Dental Hygiene Clinic has made its home in the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center since the facility opened in 1986. Over the summer, Penn College crews gutted the space and installed spacious, comfortable workstations that resemble real-world dental office settings and provide added privacy.
With the renovation comes advanced technology, including ergonomic controls, bright LED lights, updated safety features, computer integration, digital radiographs and intraoral cameras. Photos taken with the small cameras help students to educate their clients about oral-health issues they find and to insert the images directly into patients’ digital health records.
“The renovated space and new equipment will certainly provide a bright, modern learning environment that will be attractive to prospective students, while meeting the demands of today’s dental hygiene educational program needs,” said Shawn A. Kiser, director of dental hygiene at the college.
The renovated lab also allows space for four more workstations, meaning the college can accept more students into its dental hygiene majors.
Penn College offers an associate degree in dental hygiene, which can be continued to a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene: health policy and administration. The final two years of the bachelor’s degree may be pursued on campus or through online courses on a full- or part-time basis.
To learn more about dental hygiene majors at Penn College, call 570-327-4519.
The Dental Hygiene Clinic is open to students and the general public. Services include cleanings, examinations, X-rays, fluoride treatments and sealants. Exam results and X-rays can be sent to the patient’s regular dentist. Appointments can be made by calling 570-327-4500.
For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.
– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor
A group of dental hygiene students stand ready to greet guests to dedication. From left are Kirsta J. Ruble, of Mifflintown; Makayla M. Johnson, of New Oxford; Alexandra Petrizzi, of Langhorne; Chloe E. Pohlman, of Gardners; Katelyn A. Keefer, of Northumberland; and Abigail S. Way, of Montoursville.
Way greets Mary Facey, the first administrative assistant for the college’s Dental Hygiene Program, which made its first home on the fourth floor of the Academic Center.
Now 87, Facey received warm greetings from many in attendance, including Barbara (Cook) Faust, ’88 (right).
President Davie Jane Gilmour, whose career at Penn College began as the first faculty member in the Dental Hygiene Program, welcomes attendees to the dedication.
Alumnus David Tule, who graduated in 1980 and is a registered dental hygienist for Bryden and Kessel Family Dentistry in Milton, recalled his path to the college’s Dental Hygiene Program and credited his education for who he has become.
Megan Brightbill, who earned degrees in 1993 and 2001, is program director for the dental hygiene program at Harrisburg Area Community College and is pursuing a doctorate, expresses her gratitude.
Edward A. Henninger, dean of health sciences, serves as master of ceremonies for the welcoming remarks that preceded tours of the clinic.
Karen Miller, who earned her degrees from Penn College in 2011 and 2013, details her path to dental hygiene and plans to head off soon to China, where she will develop health care programs – with a focus on oral health – for underserved groups in China.
Dr. Robert Fredrickson, a local dentist who served as an instructor in the dental hygiene clinic from the time it opened in 1977 until recently, talks with program director Shawn A. Kiser. Every Friday, he worked in the clinic in the morning and taught a lecture in the afternoon. Now he devotes his Fridays to helping at the Susquehanna Health and Dental Center in Williamsport.
Keefer shows the workings of the new dental chairs to Dr. Julie Barna, in orange, and Faust. Faust began her career as a dental assistant in Barna’s Lewisburg office. Recognizing a gift for the field, Barna encouraged her to further her education to become a dental hygienist. “And she listened to me!” Barna said. In her late 20s when she entered the program, Faust said of now-president Gilmour, “When I came here, she gave me the positive reinforcement.” Barna and Faust have worked together for 37 years.
Pohlman pulls up a patient’s dental records without leaving the chairside. On right is Carol L. Kirol, a part-time instructor of dental hygiene.
Petrizzi chats with Dr. Robert Chiarelli, a Montoursville dentist.