Sunstar Award of Distinction winner Jeannette Diaz, MS, RDHAP

Dec. 8, 2021
Jackie Sanders chats with Jeannette Diaz, MS, RDHAP, about her independently owned hygiene practice and extensive outreach work.
Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, Chief editor, RDH magazine

Jeannette Diaz, MS, RDHAP, says that her proudest career accomplishment is the establishment of her independently owned dental hygiene practice. She believes it should be the standard of care in all states for hygienists to be able to provide dental care to the underserved.

Diaz is a first-generation college graduate and an RDH in alternative practice. Her portable RDHAP practice provides dental hygiene care to seniors and patients with special needs. During the pandemic, she reached out to local schools to provide virtual dental health education to Head Start and elementary school-aged children. 

She has volunteered not only in dental clinics in the Los Angeles area, but also in Mexico, where she delivered dental hygiene services to children and their parents. As a bilingual speaker of English and Spanish, she considers her skills an honor and a privilege to communicate with those who prefer to speak Spanish only, and she enjoys the ability to connect with patients no matter their language or cultural differences.  

Diaz was awarded a grant to provide oral health education and fluoride varnish to teen parents and their children, and she worked with the Rotary Club to provide education and fluoride varnish in schools. She currently works for the California Department of Developmental Services as a dental liaison in the Clinical Services Branch in the Office of Statewide Clinical Services.

She received the President’s Commitment to Diversity Award from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and was inducted into the Alpha Eta Allied Health Honor Society. Her thesis research focuses on the experiences of men in dental hygiene, a topic she feels needs attention in our profession. The qualitative portion was published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene in the fall of 2021. Diaz is currently completing a manuscript for the quantitative study. 

MORE 2021 WINNERS

Noel Paschke, MS, RDH
Karen Thomas, MS, RDH
Lisanda Mainsonet, MS, RDH
Jaci Klepadlo, BSDH, RDH
Jennifer Geiselhofer, RDH