Erin Haley Hitz 643ee3d39a15d

Serving the dental hygiene profession through leadership

April 12, 2023
Each month, the PIRA program honors an RDH who excels in their role. This month, the honor goes to Erin Haley-Hitz, MS, RDH, for serving the profession through leadership in professional associations.
Each month, the RDH PIRA (Patient Impact & Rise Above) recognition program, sponsored by Water Pik, Inc., features a dental hygiene clinician who goes the extra mile in their job to change their patients’ lives, influence their patients’ health, and make a daily difference.  

This month we honor Erin Haley-Hitz, MS, RDH, who has served the profession through voluntary leadership roles in her state and national professional associations.  

As a dental hygiene student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Erin Haley-Hitz was influenced by an educator who was advocating for the state to allow hygienists to administer local anesthesia. As a result of this educator’s efforts, in 1995, Erin’s dental hygiene class was the first to be able to legally administer local anesthesia in Nebraska. This was the beginning of Erin’s interest and passion in advocating for advancement of the dental hygiene profession. 

Upon graduation, Erin jumped into leadership immediately and has been serving for her entire 28-year career. She has served in many positions in the Nebraska Dental Hygienists’ Association, including legislative chair, president, delegate, and treasurer. After her long commitment to Nebraska, she served on the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) Board of Directors for District VIII. She currently serves as the ADHA vice president. Erin’s goal is to ensure the voice of clinicians is heard at both the national and state levels in ADHA.  

In addition to working clinically for 28 years, Erin has mentored hygienists and students in leadership, entrepreneurship, and clinical practice. Just as she was influenced by her educator years ago, she hopes to make an impact and leave a legacy of influence to encourage hygienists to become legislative advocates, strong in leadership and clinical practice. She states, “I wish to leave this profession better than when I entered it in 1995.” 

Erin is a cofounder of Pearly White Prevention, LLC, which coaches dental teams and clinical hygienists. As primary health-care providers, dental hygienists are a valued part of the health-care team, and Erin strives to help the public understand and appreciate hygienists’ role in health care.  

Erin graduated with a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Dentistry, in 1995. She completed a master of science in health promotion and human resource management from Nebraska Methodist College in 2002. She has completed introductory orofacial myology education and is working to complete the Wellcoaches School of Coaching certificate in lifestyle medicine. Erin’s articles have appeared in Today's RDH, RDH magazine, and she has been recognized as a social commentator by Dimensions of Dental Hygiene magazine.  

Read about other PIRA honorees

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Editor's note: This article appeared in the April 2023 print edition of RDH magazine. Dental hygienists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.