The drive and focus of the dental hygiene professional form a valuable skill set. We work throughout the day to make sure each patient receives 100% of our educational knowledge. We realize we can change a life on an hourly basis, often not knowing the impact we have made in an individual’s overall health until days, months, or years later.
This drive and focus become most evident when watching the recorded submissions for the Philips Heart to Hands Award and reading the achievements of the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction applicants. The sparkle in the eyes of the new dental hygienist who attends Under One Roof for the first time and realizes there are others out there who love this profession as much as they do. Or a room full of RDHs sharing time and energy with exhibitors who support our profession, hoping to be part of our drive and focus.
Each of these driven and focused dental hygienists are a piece of a profession that is facing changes, and many are the driving force that make us bigger, better, and stronger as we unite.
This month, we will focus on 20 years of the Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction and highlight the most recent recipients. Sunstar continues to support the program and aligns itself with the individuals who have found their passion in making a difference.
We will also share a moment of silence as we reflect on the 20th anniversary of September 11. One of our own, Winnie Furnari, MS, RDH, shares her story of working as a volunteer after 9/11. She states, “It was certainly the largest outpouring from the dental profession to offer their skills and volunteer to help in any way they could.” Please take a moment to read her memories.
As dental hygienists, we tend to take care of those around us, yet seldom find time to take care of ourselves. In this issue of RDH, Bethany Montoya, RDH, will provide insight into the mental health of dental hygienists, while Barbara Kucera, BS, RDH, teaches us about the benefits of animal-assisted intervention.
Embrace your personal drive and focus while we unite through advocacy, alliances, diversity, and our strengths. We are a profession that thrives on unity, and together we can be the difference.
Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH
Editor's note: This article appeared in the September 2021 print edition of RDH.