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From the President

Jennifer Pierce
Hello, my name is Jennifer Pierce and I am the IDHA President.

I would like to give a shout out to our Members……without all of you we would not have an Association.

For those of you who are not members yet, I would like to extend an invitation for you to join us. We NEED your involvement, your ideas, your voices, and your vision!! I challenge each and everyone of you who are even considering becoming members to come forward and help shape this Association….YOUR Association in to what you would like it to be.

I would like all of you to know that your existing Hygiene Association is working very hard behind the scenes by actively attending meetings, working on legislation to forward the profession of dental hygiene to help benefit and protect everyone and your interests.

It is important that all of you know that IDA is trying to move forward legislatively with a plan for scaling assistants and has had this on their legislative plan for 2 years. We met with IDA, our lobbyist, their lobbyist, their lawyer and the Dental Board on Oct 14 th . We were not able to come to an agreement because your Hygiene Association is not going to budge on this. Scaling is the main component of a hygienists role and once the language is opened up, the ability to take it back will not be an easy task.

That being said, we were very optimistic that we were invited and were able to sit and talk with IDA in the same room for the first time in all of the years that I have been a member. We were able to agree to disagree and both the IDA and the Dental Board were able to hear our voices and concerns about this issue. I hope that this has opened the door for more open communication and a different and better culture with the IDA in the future. I, as IDHA President am certainly open to working together, rather than against each other on future endeavors and implore them to let us practice to the top of our scope and let us be an integral part of the dental team as things go forward.

As an Association, our next step is to try and get key legislators in place to try and stop the bill from passing with any language that opens up scaling assistants. As in many other situations in life…. strength is spoken with numbers(members). The numbers speak volumes to the legislators. How many people are opposed to this and how many people who want it. I could talk until I was blue in the face about this but IDA’s membership vs our membership is a big difference. If we want to have an impact when we go in to fight for things that we want or oppose…..we need to have the numbers with members and people to write letters, talk to legislators and get involved to back us up. Otherwise our profession as we know it could change in the blink of an eye because we were not paying attention and protecting it.

We want you to know that the Iowa Dental Hygienists’ Association is working hard on your behalf, knowing that this is not in the best interest of the citizens of Iowa or the dental hygiene profession as a whole and that we are going to try and get the bill with its original language (without scaling for assistants) passed into law. If it passes this will open up settings where a dental hygienist will be able to practice, paving the way for a more colorful future and different directions and job opportunities for ALL hygienists BOTH clinical and public health. It will also open the door for future legislation for dental hygienists to allow us to be a more active and more rounded part of the dental team than we already are to help our patients, public and our employers.

As we move forward to keep all of you in the loop about these things we are going be working on communication with our members. One of the things that I hear most is…"I didn’t know that this was happening." Please be sure that IDHA has a current email address and contact information. Please also LIKE us on our Facebook page as we will be using this for communication as well.

I would welcome for any of you to reach out to me with your thoughts and ideas.

Jen Pierce RDH

Kirkwood Dental Hygeine Class of 2020

Kirkwood Dental Hygeine Class of 2020

And just like that, it’s the second year of hygiene school for Kirkwood’s class of 2020! We welcomed the incoming freshman into the program in August, as the seniors did to us one short year prior. Since we last touched base, we have been learning several new concepts, and implementing our skills on the clinic floor with our patients. Learning how to administer local anesthesia over the summer was one of the most exciting concepts for us. Although the initial thought of administering anesthesia on each other was quite scary, after weeks of practice we all successfully passed and are able to better treat our patients with these skills. We have also learned how to use the ultrasonic, place sealants, and better manage our time during appointments--we now treat patients three times a week. Whether we are at the Iowa City Free Clinic, the Veterans Hospital, or on a floor within the University of Iowa School of Dentistry, we are extremely fortunate to have the opportunities we do to treat our patients and learn from those experiences. Even through the stressful hours of the program we endure together, we still find time for fun. Just a few weeks ago, we each brought a treat to our book club discussion in class. We also attended the IMOM dental service in Davenport to volunteer in the sterilization area (picture of class and several instructors below). It was such a cool experience to be a part of! It was exciting to witness the helping hands of the community, because it truly made us realize we too will be able to impact others with our services as Registered Dental Hygienists in a few short months.

Member Spotlight

Nancy A. SlachName: Nancy A. Slach
Residence: West Branch, Iowa
Years in Dental Hygiene:  39 years
Years of Membership: 39 years
Family: Husband (Ray), Five Daughters (Raejean, Jennifer, Megan, Emily and Natalie), Four grandchildren (Bailey (15), Zachary (15), Kenna (10), Ellie (2)), Two dogs (Gus Nacho and Dot) and a few farm kitties, 7 Grand-dogs and one grand-cat

How I got interested in Dental Hygiene:  I spent a lot of time in the dental chair when I was about 12.  We switched dentists because our old dentist was always running late and my father would get parking tickets.  We started going to a new dentist that was a son of one of my parent’s friends.  He would explain what he was doing and it made me very interested.  When I got to high school they had a “dental aids” course and I took that and worked as a dental assistant in downtown Detroit, Michigan.  That was all it took.  The dentist thought I should go to dental school, but I wasn’t that much of a trailblazer, so I applied to the dental hygiene program at the University of Michigan and got accepted and the rest is history.

Favorite Instrument:  This is a hard question, it depends on the situation.  My tried and true for root planing are still the Gracey curettes, but love some of the new instruments like the Queen of Hearts and the diamond furcation instruments.

Memorable hygiene moment:  A patient stopped me in the grocery store and said “you saved my life”.  I had referred him to his physician, he had been reluctant to go, but I must have said something that made a difference.  He went and was able to finally get the diagnosis and treatment he needed. It is hard to choose just one moment in 39 years, one other thing is that I have gotten so much valuable advice from my patients – spend time with friends and family while you still can – time goes very quickly – that is one of the most important bits of advice that I have gotten.

Upcoming Events


January 18, 2020 Board Meeting, All Members Welcome, Hawkeye Community College, Grundy Hall, 9:00 am, Waterloo IA

February 26, 2020 Legislative Day at the Capitol  (Lobby Day)  Meet at the Capitol Cafeteria at 8:45 am

March 14th, 2020 Board Meeting, All Members Welcome, Kirkwood Community College, Linn Hall        9:00 am, Cedar Rapids IA