I have enjoyed the lively discussion in the last two years over Heidi Emmerling`s Perspective. Sometimes I have agreed with her, sometimes with the letters to RDH, but have always been curious as to why people seem so upset over her articles.
I guess if she keeps writing for RDH she will continue to cause controversy. I like controversy, so I decided to ask Heidi about her recent discussion on the "established liaison" between ADHA and the American Veterinary Dental College (August 1997). Exactly what is the liaison that you are upset about? Your entire article deals with hygienists in a veterinary practice, but your argument is based on one sentence which you do not explain: "...their established liaison with the American Veterinary Dental College." What could you possibly have against hygienists who might choose to work in a veterinary practice? While your examples of the needs of human patients were heart-rending, I fail to see what point you are trying to make.
Is the ADHA really so involved with veterinarians that they aren`t pursuing other political and social issues you feel are more important? If so, that should have been your discussion. As your article stands, the only point you make is that hygienists are less noble if they decide to practice on an animal rather than a human. While the life span of an animal may be short, they do need treatment. I`m all for putting people first, but I think you should make a better argument and explain just what it is about established liaison that gives you grief.
Sallie Benedict, RDH
Newport News, Virginia
Editor`s note: As we interpreted it, the author feels as if the ADHA has enough to worry about than whether vets are staffed properly for animals` perio problems. But your point about the ADHA`s ability to address a variety of political issues simultaneously is well-taken. We thought, however, the information about hygienists getting paid a whole lot less to treat animals than humans was interesting. It reminds us of parochial school teachers who gladly accept less pay in order to work in a more pleasant environment.