CHHS continues to enjoy a growing student enrollment, successful job placement for our graduates, and excellence and distinction in our many academic programs. One of our outstanding academic programs that I chose to highlight in this blog is our Dental Hygiene program. The program of Dental Hygiene at WKU was established in August 1970. There are four undergraduate tracks in Dental Hygiene and the program has a storied tradition of implementing curriculum to prepare our students for successful careers. Our program is accredited by the Council of Dental Education/Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and accepts 28 students per year.
Indicative of our excellence was the fact that we recently received notification that 100% of our students passed the national accreditation exam. That is a remarkable accomplishment because the national first-time failure rate is approximately 10%. This success rate is a byproduct of the excellent faculty and clinicians working and affiliated with the program. Speaking of our excellent faculty, the Dental Hygiene program and the Department of Allied Health has benefitted from the outstanding leadership of Dr. Lynn Austin. Dr. Austin began working for the Dental Hygiene Program in January 1982, and has served as the Dental Hygiene Program Director and the Department Head of Allied Health since 2005. On July 1, 2015, Dr. Austin retired from her full-time role as Program Director and Department Head.
Fortunately, Lynn will not be leaving CHHS entirely. She will begin a transitional retirement phase of her career and will be teaching a few dental hygiene courses per year. Dr. Terry Dean will be the Interim Dental Hygiene Program Director. Dr. Dean graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1990, and began a tenure track appointment in the Dental Hygiene program in 2005. He has been involved with our Program Accreditation since that time and currently serves as a CODA Site Visitor as well. Dr. Dean is extremely well-versed in all matters related to our program accreditation. I am confident the program will continue to flourish under his leadership.
To maintain our stellar academic program, we are in the process of undergoing a $1 Million dollar renovation of the Dental Hygiene clinic. This extensive renovation will be complete in mid-August. The renovation includes an expanded lab that will accommodate more student stations, a renovated x-ray space, and additional faculty offices to better meet student needs. The original Dental Hygiene lab was built in 1969 so these renovations are much-needed and will enhance student learning.CHHS works hard to develop and cultivate strong community partners. Many of our dental hygiene graduates are currently working in dental practices in South Central KY. To that end, CHHS works hard to develop and cultivate strong community partners. One such individual is Dr. Andy Burt. Dr. Burt has a private dental practice in Bowling Green and is a long-time supporter of the Dental Hygiene program and WKU. Dr. Austin and I recognized Dr. Andy Burt, and his wife Julee (not present in the photo), with a framed certificate of recognition for their cumulative giving over the years. This sustained giving catapulted them to the Cornerstone Society level at WKU, which honors their leadership and lifelong dedication for their generous support. We appreciate the Burts and many others who help make our Dental Hygiene program top-notch for not only the students but also for South Central Kentuckians.