and always look for ways to fulfill your dreams.
Keep the blinders off and engage, plan, and
pursue any potential opportunities that look
promising. I love the quote, “The harder I work,
the luckier I get.”
Bower: The world of public health dentistry and dental hygiene is open, and there
are so many populations that are facing access-to-care issues. Keep an open mind and
use your skills to create avenues that haven’t
been explored yet.
Once again, as dental hygienists, we have so
many opportunities. We not only have the
ability to influence our patients, but also our
own families. These dental hygienist mothers
have done just that. They both have daughters
who followed their example into dental public
health and who created their own paths to
become dentists and further advance the
public’s health. RDH
the country to take care of our military men
and women to ensure they could do their best
without dental disease.
Bower: I began my dental career working
as an assistant with ACC Health in the nursing
home program. I decided to apply to Arizona
School of Dentistry and Oral Health because
of their focus on public health. The dean, Jack
Dillenberg, DDS, MPH, focused on creating
providers who would improve the oral health
accessibility in the US.
Nathe: What are your current positions?
Berger: I am CEO of ACC Health. We provide medical and dental health care to veterans, several state National Guard units, and
school health programs.
Bower: I’m the dental director with Molina
Healthcare. My focus is creating a partnership
with a company that provides disability examinations to our country’s veterans that will
decrease the wait time for these patients.
Nathe: Can you discuss any particularly
interesting experiences you’ve had in your
dental public health positions?
Berger: Being on the leading edge of caring
for patients with barriers to care presented
many interesting experiences that I never
would have dreamed of having in my career.
The responsibility of readying our military
members’ oral health is very important. We
want to make sure all records are complete
and that no soldier will have a toothache that
forces them to travel with a convoy from their
unit and put soldiers at risk.
Bower: We’ve seen the transformation of
patients who are currently serving in the National Guard, not only improving their oral
health status, but changing their disposition
and job future opportunities, all from the work
that we at ACC do with our military.
Nathe: What type of advice would you
give to a practicing hygienist thinking of
doing something different?
Berger: Be aggressive with your career,
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