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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 1, 2005

Dental Hygiene Program Celebrates Double Milestone With Conference/Reunion

The University of Iowa Dental Hygiene Alumni Association will celebrate the anniversaries of the beginning and end of the UI dental hygiene program with a conference and reunion on Friday, Sept. 16. This year is a double milestone for the program, the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class and the 10th anniversary of the final class. The program, which offered a bachelor's or master's degree in dental hygiene, was discontinued in 1995.

Beth Pelton, associate professor of health and sport studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, serves as president of the UI Dental Hygiene Alumni Association. She said the conference, "50 Ways To Celebrate 50 Years: We Are Not Lost, We Are Exploring," will be of interest to UI dental hygiene graduates and other hygienists licensed to practice in Iowa as well as members of other helping professions including nurses, educators, music therapists and social workers.

The conference will include a number of lecture and discussion sessions focusing on the history of the program and the future for hygienists and other health care workers. It will conclude with an concert at the Englert Theatre featuring Jana Stanfield, a performance artist presenting a one-woman show, "I'm Not Lost, I'm Exploring: An Adventurer's Guide To Change." The 8 p.m. concert is open to the public, and $10 tickets may be purchased from the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. in Iowa City or online,

Stanfield combines her experiences as a television news reporter, songwriter, humorist and entertainer, to create multi-dimensional upbeat performances. She has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, and Entertainment Tonight with music that is described as "heavy mental" and "psychotherapy you can dance to."

Additional information about the conference including registration materials is available online,

In this Year of Public Engagement, Pelton notes that UI dental hygiene students were actively engaged in public service as part of their curriculum from the program's inception in 1953. Between 1969 and 1990, UI dental hygiene students served 135 Iowa elementary schools as part of the state's fluoride rinse program. In addition, in-depth oral health education programs were provided to numerous elementary schools within a commuting distance of Iowa City including Belle Plaine, Coggon, Columbus Junction, Kalona, Lone Tree, Norway, Parnell, Victor, Washington, Washington Township, Wellman, West Branch, West Liberty and Williamsburg.

Students provided a variety of dental hygiene services to diverse groups in Iowa including athletes, older adults, industrial workers, financially compromised, immigrants, preschoolers, homeless, mentally compromised, minorities, mobile home residents, nursing home residents, physically challenged, pregnant women, prisoners and veterans. The range of services provided to these groups by students included: analysis of private water sources for fluoride; screening, and referral; delivery of clinical dental hygiene care; development of an oral care resource directory; and educational/motivational programs for clients and staff.

"Our graduates continue to take on leadership roles in the dental hygiene profession and their communities," Pelton said. "With their liberal arts education as a foundation and with advanced education and training, the program's more than 1,300 graduates are now caring for Iowans across the state. Some have also become private business owners, artists, clergy, lawyers, physicians, teachers, nurses, social workers, librarians, politicians, investment officers and the list goes on."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Beth Pelton, 319-335-9344,