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Methodologies to Mentor Students for Patients With Special Needs


Students are required to be competent in assessing the treatment needs of all patients, including geriatric and vulnerable populations with disability status or special health care requirements. But dental care providers may not feel comfortable or confident in working with these special needs populations. This presentation will demonstrate how two dental hygiene programs are addressing ways to prepare students to offer person-centered dental care to special needs populations and how they can improve the oral health of these populations. Participants will explore ways to incorporate and implement different teaching strategies to better prepare their students to provide dental care for special needs populations.

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize how dental hygienists can play a role in oral health for special needs patients.
  • Examine the challenges associated with access to care and how the provision of oral health services for vulnerable populations in online modules offers a viable alternative to those with limited access.
  • Develop outreach and oral health care delivery programs for special needs patients.

CE Information
The American Dental Education Association is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider.

An evaluation form is available to participants after the conclusion of the live webinar. To earn continuing education (CE) credit for participation in the webinar, the online evaluation must be completed in full by May 27, 2023. After completing the evaluation, webinar participants can print and save the CE Verification Form.

ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.

The American Dental Education Association designates this activity for 1.00 continuing education credit.

All speakers agree that neither they nor members of their immediate family have any financial relationships with commercial entities that may be relevant to their presentation.


  • Marge Buehner, RDH, RDA, M.H.S.A.

    Prof. Buehner teaches special patient care curriculum to both dental and dental hygiene students and teaches professionalism and dental materials to dental hygiene students. She supervises dental hygiene students both at University Health Center and Corktown clinics as well as off-site rotations in the nursing home field.

    Prof. Buehner has received several outstanding faculty awards presented by the dental hygiene students. She holds a B.S. and a master’s degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy (UDM). She participated in the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry mini residency in Nursing Home and Long-term Care for the Dental Team. She serves as the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association advisor for the hygiene students. She joined UDM in 2001.

  • Iwonka Eagle, M.S., RDH

    In 2000, Prof. Eagle graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology and began conducting research at the Karmanos Cancer Center. Her interest in oral health was sparked shortly thereafter while working as a dental assistant. It led her to pursue a career in dental hygiene. Prof. Eagle completed her dental hygiene studies in 2004 at the University of Michigan (U-M), earning a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene. She began working in clinical private practice, then returned to U-M, graduating in 2014 with a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene.

    In addition to being an educator as a clinical assistant professor, she is also involved in clinical research through the Michigan Center for Oral Health Research. Prof. Eagle is deeply interested in clinical education and research and advocating for interdisciplinary collaboration as well as the advancement of our dental hygiene profession. She is a member of the Michigan Oral Health Coalition, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the American Dental Education Association.

  • Darlene Jones, RDH, M.P.A.

    Prof. Jones started her career in dental hygiene with an associate degree from Lakeland Community College in 1974. For the next 35 years, she worked as a clinical dental hygienist, practicing in a variety of settings in Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and Michigan. While in Texas, she started the Continuing Education Dental Hygiene Study Club, and with this project began her interest in teaching. Prof. Jones earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from Midwestern State University in 2000, followed by a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Michigan University in 2002.

    During the last 10 years, Prof. Jones has taught part-time at Wayne County Community College and at the University of Michigan—both in the clinic and classroom. In 2014, she started as a full-time faculty member at the University of Michigan.

    Prof. Jones enjoys practicing primarily in community settings and is passionate about expanding the use of dental hygiene services for the underserved as well as mentoring students during their community-based research projects.

May 27, 2020
Wed 12:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 0M

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