Each week the RDH PIRA (Patient Impact & Rise Above) recognition program, sponsored by Water Pik, Inc., features a dental hygiene clinician who excels in their role and goes the extra mile in their job. The past two years have been a challenge for many clinicians and as we return to the operatory, we want to acknowledge those providing patient care—clinicians who are changing their patients’ lives, influencing their patients’ health, and making a daily difference. This week we honor Griselda Lopez, BSDH, RDH, CDA.
Griselda wrote, “I’ve known I wanted to be a dental hygienist since I was a junior in high school. I picked up a classmate's “Dental Careers” textbook and began to read it during my early childhood career class. I became immediately hooked on the field of dental hygiene. The next year I graduated with my Virginia State Radiology Certificate and started working in the dental field three weeks later.
"As a first-generation Mexican American who did not receive regular dental care growing up, I knew that I wanted to educate the Latinx community on the oral-systemic link and the importance of dental care. Although my Spanish was not the best when I began my career, I used everything I could to communicate with patients and their parents.
"Videos and google translate worked wonders! I use the tell-show-do method with patients because it helps put them at ease and allows them to ask questions before we begin treatment. My favorite part of the job is seeing a patient for the first time and they present with high anxiety, but when they return on their next visit, they feel comfortable and are looking forward to their appointment.”
More PIRA honorees
Lopez is a full-time hygienist in Virginia who has been in the dental field for 16 years. She enjoys volunteering at the dental clinic and was a recipient of the Ellen S. Flanagan Volunteer Service Award in 2019. She has a passion for educating patients and other health-care providers about the oral-systemic link, and is an advocate for the Latinx community.
Her favorite part of her day is when she educates patients by using their intraoral scans, and then witnessing their “aha” moment. She recently completed her Oral Systemic Educator Certificate (COSE) and hopes to create a dental sealant program for schools in her community. Lopez was part of the adjunct faculty at Northern Virginia Community College, where she helped instruct the dental assistant class of 2022. Connect with her on Instagram @GrisLopezRDH.
Visit the PIRA website to nominate someone today! Good luck, and we look forward to hearing from many outstanding and qualified colleagues!