Editor's Note

RDH Magazine has witnessed about a third of the profession's first 100 years. So the celebratory fireworks that have started over dental hygiene’s centennial ...

by Mark Hartley

RDH Magazine has witnessed about a third of the profession's first 100 years. So the celebratory fireworks that have started over dental hygiene's centennial prompt me to realize I have observed a nice chunk of history.

(Please see Lory Laughter's column in this issue to see how the magazine is celebrating the 100th anniversary. In addition, she offers some interesting trivia about the profession's history.)

I only met Irene Woodall once, in the mid 1980s. The founding editor of RDH and I met in a remote corner of a convention center in Philadelphia. The boss told me to go say hello to Irene at an appointed time, and then take care of more important assignments during the dental meeting. I'll always remember how gracious Irene was with her time, and I'm pretty sure we talked about some dental issues for much longer than she had planned. Funny, I can remember this 'extra task" that was assigned to me, but cannot remember anything else I did during that convention.

I met Trisha O'Hehir's sister before I met the former RDH columnist (1991-2004, as well as an original editorial board member in 1981). Her sister sold candy in a gift shop in a St. Paul hotel, and I bought a few pieces of the sweet stuff. Although Trisha (now the editorial director of HygieneTown) and I talked all the time by phone for years. I finally met her at dinner during a dental meeting in the mid-1990s. I still feel a great deal of warmth for the hygienist who taught me the most about the perspective from the other side of the Gracey. (Numerous hygienists have explained things about my side of the instrumentation, but I do remember the first time I looked at my oral bacteria under a microscope at Dr. Mac Lee's office in Edna, Texas, some 25 years ago.)

I encountered the dry wit of Winnie Furnari in the mid-1990s. Every state is blessed to have someone who works long hours at the state association level, and New York is a better place because of Winnie.

I don't remember the first time I met Dianne Glasscoe Watterson and Anne Guignon. RDH had never published a "practice management" type of column. But on a rainy day in late 1988 (in Oklahoma, not sure what the weather was like in Dianne's beloved North Carolina), we exchanged numerous emails over eight hours, finally convincing me that, yes, dental hygienists need to know about practice management issues. As Anne often points out in her seminars and columns, the topic of ergonomics in dental hygiene was an easier selling point to me. I dreaded meeting "crippled" hygienists in the 1990s. The hygienists still looked young and vibrant in spirit to me, possessing keen minds in regard to oral health. But they were in so much pain. To put it mildly, their occupational injuries enraged me. But I didn't know Anne. Her determination to write a "column" instead of following up my request that "you just write me an article, and we'll see" gave me a very clear indication of her desire to see dental hygienists live healthier lives too.

I think there were several RDH columnists who I met for the first time at the inaugural RDH Under One Roof conference in Denver in 2001. You'll see advertising and articles about "UOR" all over this issue, as well as online. But for the first meeting, I "designed" one house ad for the meeting, taking up about a quarter of a page in a single issue that year. It was a miracle that almost 100 people showed up for the first UOR, and we quickly got better about getting the word out for subsequent UORs.

I met Trish De Dios on Facebook. She is an emerging voice for the next generation driving us forward to the 200-year anniversay. She will be writing a column about her generation in upcoming issues.

The main thing about remembering when I met a dental hygienist for the first time is the sheer number of them. Kristine Hodsdon, Maria Perno Goldie, Gail Stoops, Patti DiGangi, Heidi Munoz, Shirley Gutkowski, Ann Battrell, Kristy Menage Bernie, Christine Hovliaras, Regina Dreyer, Jill Rethman, Tricia Osuna, Cathy Seckman (learned real quickly about her passion for motorcycles as that was what she rode to the Chicago Midwinter Meeting when we first met) ... the list of names would go on for a long, long time. This long, long list tells me two things:

  • The profession is in good hands. Some very selfless peers keep advocating for the hygiene profession daily.
  • Of course, the other benefit is a little more selfish. I have had the good fortune to meet terrific dental hygienists during the last three decades — something I'm very grateful for.

Mark Hartley
markh@pennwell.com
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