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Creighton, Iowa Western Join Forces for Dental Hygiene

Creighton, Iowa Western Join Forces for Dental Hygiene

Creighton University, Omaha, Neb. and Iowa Western Community College (IWCC), Council Bluffs, Iowa, are celebrating their 10th year partnering to provide better dental care through a dental hygiene program founded on sharing of critical resources. The program prepares dental hygiene students to become preventive health professionals who provide education and clinical services to support oral health.

Students fulfill didactic education requirements at Iowa Western and receive their clinic experience at Creighton University. They also receive the benefits of exposure to and combination of faculty from both schools. The integrated experience is critical to satisfying the accreditation criteria from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

A unique aspect of the program is that students who receive an associate of applied science in dental hygiene degree from IWCC can enroll for an additional 36 hours at Creighton University and receive their bachelor of science in dental hygiene from Creighton University.

The program, which began in 1998, is highly competitive and enrolls only 18 students annually. Upon graduation, the job placement rate is high with competitive salaries achieving $26 an hour and above in the Midwest market. The faculty to student ratio in clinic is five to one which is highly desirable by CODA standards.

“This program is a win-win for both schools and of real benefit to the health care needs of our community with more than 150 graduates joining the workforce in the past nine years,” said Jan Hillis, professor and dental hygiene program chair at IWCC and assistant clinical professor of periodontics at Creighton University.

Dr. Steven Friedrichsen, dean of Creighton University School of Dentistry echoes Ms. Hillis’s enthusiasm for the program, “It is important to support collaborative programs like this where we can continuously work toward increasing and improving the integration of the dental and dental hygiene student learning experiences.”