WCU Dental Hygiene Research Teams Excel Nationally

Posted on 06/25/2015

Two research teams of West Coast University's Dental Hygiene students and faculty placed second and third at the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) annual student research poster competition. 

“This is an outstanding example of student excellence and skilled instructor mentorship on a national level,” WCU Dean of Dental Hygiene Michelle Hurlbutt said. “Our students, faculty mentors and research instructors should all be commended for their outstanding work.”

Twenty-one original research teams from highly regarded dental hygiene programs across the United States presented at this national competition. 

“Our research was to see if plaque scores would decrease while using an app that told them to brush for two minutes,” said Berenice Gaona, one of the WCU Dental Hygiene students on the second place research team. “The fact that we worked together, selected subjects and worked with the subjects was really exciting.”

West Coast University honored the dental hygiene students for their research at a reception on June 25. Interim Executive Director Liz Atilano and Dean Hurlbutt recognized the students and faculty involved in research with faculty, members of the leadership team and about 60 Dental Hygiene students in attendance. The winning research teams also spoke briefly to their peers about the impact research had on their program experience.

“What I took from this research project is technology along with our education can change behavior,” said Kim Jenkins, one of the WCU Dental Hygiene students on the second place team. “It was an amazing opportunity to represent our school and I’m grateful for this experience.”

Congratulations to our West Coast University Dental Hygiene students!


Second place: “Plaque Score Decreases with Smartphone App”
• Student Researchers: Karen Erfe, Ingrid Mazariegos, Berenice Gaona and Kim Jenkins 
• Faculty Research Mentor: Professor Audrey Hung

Third Place Presentation: “Cetylated Fatty Acid Complex Effect on Bleeding and Probing Depths”
• Student Researchers: Tonya Boyd, Silvano Puente-Santos and Nikki Colclazier 
• Faculty Research Mentor: Professor Fran Soderling

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