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Dental Hygiene

Master of Science: Program Competencies

Competencies define the abilities expected of the graduate of the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene Program. These competencies reflect knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

  • 1. Diversity, Social, & Cultural Sensitivity: Refers to the ability to engage and interact with individuals and groups across and within diverse communities and cultures in an effective and respectful manner.
    • 1-1. Recognize the impact of health status and ability, age, gender, ethnicity, social, economic, and cultural factors on health and disease, health beliefs and attitudes, health literacy and the determinants of health.
    • 1-2. Identify the needs of vulnerable populations and communities to prevent and control oral diseases and reduce health disparities.
    • 1-3. Develop strategies to address oral health disparities in diverse populations.
  • 2. Health Care Policy, Interprofessional Collaboration, & Advocacy: Refers to the understanding of policy and its development, the value of collegiality and inter-professional collaboration and advocacy related to the promotion of health, education and the profession of dental hygiene.
    • 2-1. Examine legislative and regulatory processes that influence and determine policy, health priorities, and funding for healthcare and education programs.
    • 2-2. Determine evidence and data needed to support the development of new workforce models including their impact on oral health and overall health from a policy perspective.
    • 2-3. Establish and promote interprofessional collaborations with other professionals, interest groups, and social service agencies to promote and restore health.
  • 3. Health Promotion & Disease Prevention: Refers to all aspects of health promotion, risk assessment and reduction, and education of individuals, families and communities in the promotion of optimal oral health and its relationship to general health.
    • 3-1. Incorporate health promotion theories and evidence-based research in developing teaching and oral health counseling strategies that preserve and promote health.
    • 3-2. Foster inter-professional collaborations to optimize health for individuals and/or communities.
    • 3.3. Evaluate the impact of oral disease on overall health to determine patient or community risk and identify intervention and prevention strategies to optimize positive health outcomes.
  • 4. Leadership & Administration: Refers to the ability to inspire individual, community and/or organizational excellence, create and communicate a shared vision and successfully manage change to attain an organization’s strategic ends and successful performance.
    • 4-1. Apply leadership skills, theories, and principles in interactions with teams and organizations to enhance innovation and change.
    • 4-2. Advocate for the advancement of the dental hygiene profession and oral health improvement through service activities and affiliations with professional associations.
    • 4-3. Apply the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation process in various dental hygiene professional roles.
    • 4-4. Apply outcomes assessment and quality improvement models to evaluate effectiveness related to an area of emphasis such as education, research, community programs, or workforce models.
  • 5. Professionalism & Communication: Refers to the ability to demonstrate the highest standards of competence in professionalism and communication, through knowledge, behavior, and technology.
  • 5-1. Apply self-assessment skills and life-long learning to enhance professional development.
    • 5-2. Employ a professional code of ethics in all endeavors.
    • 5-3. Demonstrate responsibility and accountability for actions within the various roles of the dental hygienist according to defined standards, regulations, and policies.
    • 5-4. Demonstrate the ability to access, evaluate, and interpret data from various information systems.
    • 5-5. Demonstrate knowledge of the legal, ethical, and social issues related to emerging technology and communication/social networks.
    • 5-6. Utilize effective written, oral, and electronic communication skills.
  • 6. Scholarly Inquiry & Research: Relates to the ability to utilize scientific theory, research methodology and research findings, as well as critical and reflective thinking for clinical and/or organizational evidence-based decision making.
    • 6-1. Apply the scientific method to an identified problem.
    • 6-2. Analyze and interpret quantitative and qualitative data from the research literature to guide problem solving and evidence-based decision making.
    • 6-3. Synthesize information from evidence-based literature and apply to a community health, education, clinical practice, and/or research problem.
    • 6-4. Design and implement a scholarly project in an area of emphasis.
    • 6-5. Disseminate new knowledge and contribute to best practices in the profession.
  • 7. Educational Theory & Practice: Relates to the use of evidence-based educational theory and instructional design to prepare educators to serve in diverse settings and to promote excellence in dental hygiene education and practice.
    • 7-1. Use educational theory and teaching principles to develop and deliver information to diverse populations.
    • 7-2. Identify/analyze/evaluate the role of dental hygiene education in higher education and health care.
    • 7-3. Demonstrate the educational preparation and professional development to assume responsibilities in dental hygiene education.

Adapted from Core Competencies for Graduate Dental Hygiene Education available from American Dental Education Association (ADEA) or American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA):

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