Of the many fine education programs in the Indiana University Northwest School of Nursing & Allied Health, the most unheralded in terms of importance to the overall health of patients may be the Dental Education Program. That’s what Dr. David Rudziewicz, D.D.S., adjunct faculty member at IU Northwest, told this year’s dental-health graduates during his keynote address at the Dental Education Honors Program on May 2.
“We are an underappreciated group of people,” Rudziewicz told the graduating dental assistants and dental hygienists gathered at the IU Northwest Savannah Center for the program. “Today, we are finding out just how important oral health is to the overall health of the body. You, the dental hygienists and dental assistants, are the front line in the fight to promote good health.”
IU Northwest offers a one-year dental-assisting certificate and a two-year associate degree in dental hygiene. Rudziewicz encouraged the new dental assistants in the room to pursue the dental-hygiene degree, and he encouraged all of the graduates to consider becoming dentists. He emphasized that everyone in the dental field, from assistants to doctors, bear a responsibility for educating their patients about the importance of oral health.
“You are now educators as well as professionals,” Rudziewicz said. “You need to keep up with your continuing education so that you can help to educate your patients.”
Rudziewicz did not wish his students luck as they pursue their careers in dentistry.
“You don’t need luck, because you’ve got skill. You’re going to kick some bacteria butt,” he said.
Assistant Professor of Dental Education Juanita Robinson, who is the program director, mentioned during her remarks that the dental students and faculty had moved into their new facility, located in the IU Northwest Dunes Medical/Professional Building, during the winter. She made joking reference to the transition as a “trial” for all involved, then expressed how thrilled everyone was to move into the state-of-the-art facility.
“The facility is beautiful,” Robinson said. “It’s everything we ever could have dreamed of and even more. We still need to be pinched to see if we really did move.”
The Dental Education Program runs a Preventative Dental Clinic that is open to the Northwest Indiana community. There, dental students get practical experience working with patients, and patients can receive basic preventative dental services such as oral exams and cleaning, fluoride treatments, X-rays, dental sealants, and oral-hygiene instruction, all at reasonable cost. For more information about the Preventative Dental Clinic at IU Northwest, go to http://www.iun.edu/dental/ or call (219) 980-6772.
Linda Rooda, Ph.D., RN, dean of the School of Nursing & Allied Health, commended this year’s graduates for earning their credentials in a challenging program. Rooda noted that IU Northwest’s health programs collectively list more student majors on their rolls — 1,280 -- than any other IU Northwest program.
“Our program is known as being competitive to get into, with rigorous admissions standards and challenging curriculum,” she told the graduates. “But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.”
The IU Northwest Dental Education Program Class of 2007 dental-hygiene graduates include: Amanda Ashley; Stephanie Bakker; Kristy Baranowski; Diana Burgess; Natalie Crook; Cecilia DeRolf; Angela Enos; Katherine Hans; Celia Haro; Dana Herman; Angela Kilgallen; Amanda Larson; Lynn LeNeave; Demetra Marinos; Kandi Nugent; Christina Reinhardt; Amy Thomas; Jacqueline Tuscan; Amy Reithel; and Nada Zezelj.
Class of 2007 dental-assistant graduates include: Kristen DeBoer; Kelsie DeVries;
Krysten Gunter; Jennifer Hilgeman; Caylyn Kraud; Elizabeth Lampa; Amanda Leuck;
Heather Lintner; Christine Miles; Michele Philips; Stacey Pollack; Denise Portalatin;
Katrina Portis; Colleen Santay; Jenny Stevens; Melissa Wacker; and Kelly Yudt.