Dental Hygiene in a Changing World | ADHA - American Dental Hygienists Association

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Dental Hygiene in a Changing World

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The January 12 Dental Hygiene in a Changing World workshop assisted more than 150 dental hygienists in developing leadership skills and navigating their way through a rapidly changing professional landscape. The entire workshop is now available on-demand, anytime you choose. This newly format offers you the flexibility to participate in the workshop anytime on your own computer from anywhere in the world, and eliminates the cost of travelling and over-night stays.

COST: $99.00

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The workshop examined the changes affecting the dental hygiene profession in a session presented by ADHA Executive Director Ann Battrell. An interactive panel discussion presented a variety of career tracks for dental hygienists. Each of the five panelists discussed the career path they followed (education, research, public health, corporate or administration), the “aha moments” they experienced along the way, and what they wish they would have known before entering their chosen field. Table discussions provided networking opportunities and a chance to share experiences.

The workshop also featured Debra Bachman-Zabloudil, president and CEO of The Learning Studio. Her session on career mapping helped attendees develop a “business plan” for their careers by examining the attributes of successful dental hygienists and applying those qualities to personal career maps.

Among her key points:

  • Continuous Learning – How can you supplement? What can you do to create learning opportunities?
  • Build your network – Attend as many professional events as you can. Look for informal opportunities to connect.
  • Identify your ultimate career goal – If you knew you could not fail, where would you want to be in the prime of your career? Aim high. This is your life—be the architect.
  • Assess your current skill set – Be real and truthful about your strengths/weaknesses. Do you have any blind spots relative to viewing yourself realistically?
  • Identify the gap and fill it – What areas need to be worked on to prepare yourself for the career you ultimately want to have?

If you would like to take advantage of more networking and career advice shared by ADHA members, please join the ADHA group on LinkedIn.

Dental Hygiene Changing World

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Course Content

Opening Session: A Look at the Current Landscape:

(RDH & Student Attendees)
An overview of the current and changing landscape as well as "skill sets" essential for all RDH professionals will be provided.

Keynote Presentation - Career Mapping

(RDH & Student Attendees)
Similar to a business plan, career mapping includes a mission statement, goals and objectives, SWOT analysis, financial strategies, and action plans. By exploring the attributes of successful dental hygienists around the country, you can begin to apply those qualities to develop a personal career map. Participants will be able to chart their path of growth and development within their current and desired practice settings/roles today and into the future.

Panel Discussion: Career Paths for the Dental Hygiene Professional

(RDH & Student Attendees)
Each of the panelists will answer a series of questions focusing on “what they do” in their current role setting.

Small Table Discussions: Career Paths

(RDH & Student Attendees)
Participants will have further discussions amongst their table of 10 where additional information will be reviewed and discussed on the career path options in the specific table topic. The panelist speaking on each topic will be floating around to answer any questions that might come up.

Networking Luncheon

(RDH & Student Attendees)
The networking luncheon will provide all attendees with the opportunity to network with others. Attendees will select a table topic to sit at during the luncheon. This can be the same table topic selected for the main session, or a different table topic.

Panel Discussion: Strategies for Achieving Your Career Goals

(RDH Attendees)
Each of the panelists will answer a series of questions focusing on how they got to where they are today (education, research, etc); what were the “aha moments” and what they wish they would have known. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with panelists and ask questions.

Student Track –Unleash Your Potential

(Student Attendees)
Students will discuss tangible ways to approach potential career opportunities, focusing on the skills needed when entering the workforce; interviewing; resume development; soft skills; how to make yourself marketable; professional networking.

Small Table Discussions: Designing Your Own Career

(RDH & Student Attendees)
Attendees will be guided through a process to begin designing their career path. This directed exercise could involve questions to be answered for development of a career road map, or instructions on writing a resume objective. Attendees will be able to chart their path of growth and development within their current and desired practice settings/roles today and into the future.

Wrap-up Session: Putting it all Together

(RDH & Student Attendees)
Attendees will reflect on what they have learned through the workshop earlier in the day.


Opening Commentator: Susan Savage, RDH, BS, ADHA President

Susan Savage, RDH, BSDH, is the 2012-2013 president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Susan has served in various positions within ADHA including as president-elect and vice president of ADHA, a delegate, Reference Committee member, and chair of the Washington State Dental Hygienists’ Association ADHA Annual Session delegation committee and ADHA Minutes Review Committee. She has also served in the capacity of district XII trustee. Additionally, she served as president of the Washington State Dental Hygienists’ Association, a constituent of ADHA, and the Isaac Knapp Dental Hygiene Society a component of ADHA.

She has practiced dental hygiene for 24 years and is currently employed at the Mountain View Dental Center, PS. She is employed in a dual role as a clinical dental hygienist doing expanded duty dental hygiene functions, as well as the office manager. Savage spent five years working in rural Alaska with the Alaska Native Health Services as a dental disease prevention specialist.
She earned her associate degree in dental hygiene in 1988 at Indiana University at Fort Wayne and received her Bachelor of Science in dental hygiene from Eastern Washington University in 2005.

Susan Savage

Career Mapping: Debra Bachman Zabloudil, CAE, FACHE

Debra Backman Zabloudil, CAE, FACHE is the founder of The Learning Studio. Debra is your typical big picture CEO; she can spot an education trend early on and can take this to come up with innovative ideas.

Debra received her bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications/Public Relations from Southern Illinois University, and her master’s degree in Management of Public Service from DePaul University. She has earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is a past chair of ASAE’s Professional Development Council and speaks and writes regularly on the topic of association education trends, best practices and overall training.

Want to know more about Debra Bachman's panel topic? Click Here

Debra Bachman


Kristen Esler, RDH


Kristen Esler is a Regional Manager for Henry Schein. Kristen has a background in periodontal disease.

Kristen Esler

Mary Pat Burgess, RDH, MBA

Public Health

Mary Pat Burgess is the Acting Oral Health Director at the Chicago Department of Public Health, Division of Oral Health. Mary holds a Community Dental Health Certificate from Northeast WI Technical College in Green Bay Wisconsin and also has her Masters in Business Administration with concentration in Health Administration and Marketing from Lewis University it Romeoville, Illinois.

Mary Pat has served on the South Suburban Dental Hygienists’ Society, Illinois Dental Hygienists Association and has been ADHA’s State Representative to National Meetings. Additionally Mary Pat is involved in several program developments, is a member of many professional organizations and has been a contributor to several abstracts and publications.

Mary Pat Burgess

Christine Charles RDH, BS


Christine Charles is currently Director, Scientific and Professional Affairs, Global Consumer Healthcare Research, Development and Engineering, Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products Worldwide, Division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. responsible for Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions. In this role, she directs the professional communications programs for dental professionals. She holds a B.S. in dental hygiene from the University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport CT and her AS from Fones School of Dental Hygiene.

As a clinical researcher, Chris has been the central force in Listerine Antiseptic therapeutic claims. In 1987, Chris was part of the effort to attain Listerine's most visible claim - the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance and has been involved with the development of clinical support for nearly all of the Listerine oral products including rinses, dentifrice, breath strips and Listerine Whitening Quick Dissolving Strips. Chris started her corporate research career with Lever Brothers Company following almost 2 years in clinical practice. At Lever she was responsible for developing clinical support for personal care products including oral products and conducted caries clinical trials in support of Aim toothpaste.

Recently Chris was awarded the Oral Health Research Award by the Oral Health Research Group of the International Association for Dental Research for her over 28 years in clinical research contributions. She has coauthored over 25 clinical research abstracts and 27 research articles, and has presented numerous research and continuing education programs.

Christine Charles

Cynthia Gadbury-Amyot, MSDH, Ed.D


Cynthia C. Gadbury-Amyot, MSDH, Ed.D. is the Interim Associate Vice Provost of Online Education, and Professor and Director, Distance Education and Faculty Development, University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), School of Dentistry. Dr. Amyot has been a full-time faculty member at UMKC since 1993 serving three years as Director of Graduate and Degree Completion Studies and five years as Director of the Division of Dental Hygiene. Dr. Amyot has received numerous distinguished teaching awards from the School of Dentistry and was the recipient of the university wide Elmer Pierson Outstanding Teaching Award. Since 2007 she has served as the Director of Distance Education and Faculty Development where she has worked with faculty to incorporate technology into teaching and learning. She recently received the 2011 Missouri Distance Learning Leadership Award for her leadership in the field of distance learning through the development of innovative online programming, relevant scholarly research, and service to professional organizations.

Cynthis Gadbury-Amoyt

Tammi Byrd, RDH


Tammi O. Byrd, RDH is the CEO/Clinical Director of Health Promotion Specialists, a school-based dental hygiene program serving schools in South Carolina since June 2000. She is responsible for the administration and management of the company’s budget and operations and is the clinical director. Byrd actively participates in the monitoring and development of government statute, regulations, and policies as they relate to small business, dentistry, and the practice of dental hygiene. She is a past president of the South Carolina Dental Hygiene Association and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

Tammi Byrd

Shelby Kahl, RDH


Shelby L. Kahl, RDH, owns and operates an integrative dental hygiene practice on the Front Range of Northern Colorado. Her comprehensive dental hygiene practice includes saliva testing and Perioscope-aided periodontal therapy. Her contributions to the profession revolve around the conceptual idea of oral health and its integral role in the diagnostics of systemic health. Ms. Kahl believes the future of oral care lies in the culmination of dentistry and medicine. She is actively involved in several research projects, including fieldwork in dental sealants and the relationship with endocrinology and periodontal disease. Most recently released, is the supportive evidence for the co- location of dental hygienists within pediatric medical practices. She believes the drive to evolve the profession of dental hygiene into an integrated complimentary role is key to the future of the dental hygiene profession.

Shelby Kahl

Ann Battrell, MSDH, ADHA Executive Director


Ann Battrell has served as the executive director of the Chicago-based American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) since July 2005. She is the first registered dental hygienist and the first former ADHA president to serve in this position.

Ann holds a certificate and bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from Northwestern University in Chicago. She earned a master’s degree in dental hygiene from the University of Missouri—Kansas City, School of Dentistry in 2007. She has held dental hygiene faculty positions at Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago and Palm Beach Community College in Palm Beach, Fla.

In addition to several leadership positions at the state and national levels, Ann served as ADHA president from 1996 to 1997. Prior to joining the ADHA staff team, she served as the association’s strategic planning consultant. She began her career with the association in June 2000 as manager of education. In 2004 Ann was promoted to the director of education position at ADHA. She has also served ADHA as acting director of research.

As executive director, Ann represents ADHA to governmental bodies, educational institutions, other related associations and corporate partners. She also oversees a host of staff programs from membership recruitment to consumer awareness, as well as the comprehensive responsibilities for all elements of ADHA’s operation. As the largest association representing the professional interests of the more than 150,000 registered dental hygienists in the United States, ADHA operates an annual budget of more than $6 million and has approximately 40 employees.

Ann Battrell