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Dental hygiene mentorship

Dental hygiene groupA pizza party on Nov. 6 helped break the ice between senior dental hygiene students and Dallas Dental Hygienists’ Society members, who will get to know one other in the coming months as part of the Caruth School of Dental Hygiene’s mentorship program.

This marks the eighth year of organized mentoring for the dental hygiene school, longer than any program in the country.

Students and mentors are paired based on similar interests and personal information, such as hometowns or family situations. In the months following their initial get-together, mentors bring gifts for the students, encourage them during tests and board exams and invite them for coffee or lunch.

Mentors also will help the students transition into practice after graduation. Because the mentors typically know the professional community, they can offer guidance on finding employment. They also bring their students to the monthly dental hygiene society meetings, so students have a networking gateway with others in the profession.

The mentorship program is succeeding, particularly in helping HSC-BCD graduates keep in touch. Kelly Muhney, the program’s organizer and assistant professor in dental hygiene, says it has been especially rewarding to have many recent graduates participating as mentors.

“This is really an excellent way to assure that the graduates do not get left behind or fall off the map from their professional organization,” Muhney says. “Mentors are passionate about our profession and want to make sure that the graduates have a network support system to usher them into the profession.”