Partnership gives dental hygiene students a golden opportunity

Collaboration is one of many strengths for which the University of Washington has long been known. One of the best examples is the successful partnership the UW School of Dentistry created with Shoreline Community College to increase the number of dental hygienists.

When Shoreline’s training facilities were affected by a campus construction project a couple of years ago, the college worked with UW dental school leaders to avoid an interruption in the students’ education. Both parties recognized early on that there was a lot of interest in a partnership that could move the Shoreline program to the UW campus.

But this was far more than the UW’s offer of classroom space to accommodate the displaced Shoreline students. The UW went into this strategic partnership to enhance students’ education and train more dental hygienists. Shoreline’s students thus received a golden opportunity to experience the same teaching and learning environment enjoyed by the UW’s dentistry students, faculty and patients. “This,” former Shoreline president Cheryl Roberts said, “will help our students become even better prepared for careers in this fast-growing industry.”

Moreover, with the program now based at the UW, the goal is to increase the number of slots for dental hygienist students.

Shoreline’s students have a history of working alongside UW dentistry students. They serve rotations at the UW dental school’s clinics, including the Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities Clinic. But this new collaboration means Shoreline students will have the opportunity to gain valuable pediatric dental training at the UW’s Center for Pediatric Dentistry.

Former dental school dean Gary Chiodo put it best: “The ability to have dental hygiene students learn and practice in coordination with dental students will benefit all students and our patients.”  Now that’s something to smile about.