Ann Arbor, MI — June 24, 2013 — For the second time in three months, a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Dental Hygiene Degree Completion E-Learning program has received a major award from a national organization for her efforts to improve the oral health of low-income families in Michigan.
Tiffany Mendryga received the American Dental Hygienist’s Association’s Sigma Phi Alpha Journalism Award. The award, which recognizes an outstanding manuscript submitted by a student pursuing a baccalaureate degree, was presented at the ADHA Center for Lifelong Learning during its annual convention in Boston. Her work will appear in a future issue of the Journal of Dental Hygiene. In April, she received the Dental Hygiene Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Health Dentistry from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry for her efforts.
Mendryga graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene last summer. She worked with the Michigan Department of Community Oral Health Programs (MDCH OHP) and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program to develop a survey during the final year of her dental hygiene education that was designed to assess WIC providers’ perceptions of oral health care counseling and the availability of associated educational resources. Her questionnaire was e-mailed to all 56 WIC coordinators in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Community Oral Health Programs focuses on improving the oral health of all Michigan residents by increasing collaboration with community programs like WIC, a health and nutrition program designed to address the nutritional needs of at-risk low-income women and their children.
Mendryga was mentored by Anne Gwozdek, a clinical assistant professor of dentistry and director of the School’s Degree Completion E-Learning program which offers dental hygienists an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree though online courses and activities while remaining employed or maintaining family commitments.