An open house and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held in Palm Desert, California, on November 28, 2011, to announce the launch by Loma Linda University School of Dentistry of a new dental hygiene associate of science degree program in that Coachella Valley municipality.
The event will be hosted by Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president, Loma Linda University; Charles Goodacre, DDS, MSD, dean, School of Dentistry; and Kristi Wilkins, RDH, MA, chair, Department of Dental Hygiene.
Open house tours will be available between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the new program and clinic address: 34280 Gateway Drive, Building “G,” Palm Desert, California 92211. Please RSVP .
The ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. the same afternoon and location.
California State Senator William Emmerson, DDS, MS, a Loma Linda graduate, will honor the ribbon cutting with an official resolution as he shares the dais with College of the Desert President Jerry R. Patton, MBA; Palm Desert Mayor, Jeanne Benson, Barbara deBoom, IOM, ACE, president/CEO of the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce, and a contingent of Ambassadors from the businesses represented by the Chamber.
Beginning with the fall quarter of 2011, the seven-quarter dental hygiene program creates career pathways for high–paying jobs, while enhancing the availability and quality of oral healthcare in the Coachella Valley.
The LLU School of Dentistry’s new program will matriculate 28 students annually, including a large number of students from nearby College of the Desert where many will receive their general education and biomedical science prerequisite education. Loma Linda University professors will provide the dental hygiene science and clinical training for the program—a teaching staff of seven, including a full-time dentist and board-certified hygienists.
“The goal of providing this eastern desert community with increased access to dental care and oral health training is exciting,” says Kristi Wilkins. “A dental clinic offering care for under-served groups will also be part of the program,” she added.
Coachella Valley students who master prerequisite courses on a full-time basis can prepare for the dental hygiene training in one year. The dental hygiene degree will require seven quarters over 21 months of full-time training. Students will be eligible to take the National Dental Hygiene Board written examination after six quarters of dental hygiene training and will be eligible to sit for the clinical State and/or Regional licensing examinations at the conclusion of their dental hygiene training.
While the seven-quarter associate degree program will cost students approximately $52,000, it is important to note that the recipients of two-year and four-year dental hygiene degrees have excellent and identical earning potential.
Loma Linda University’s new program resides in the $500,000 build-out of a 10,411-square foot space at 34-280 Gateway Drive in the Class A-rated Pointe Monterey Business Park less than a third of a mile from Interstate 10, in a triangle formed by Dinah Shore Drive, Gerald Ford Drive, and Monterey Avenue.