Think Beyond the Prophy: A dental hygienist finds peace on outreach missions

For this installment of Think Beyond the Prophy, we are highlighting Jennifer Hasch, RDH, BS. Jennifer is an RDH on a mission for public health advocacy. She is a graduate from University of Louisville School of Dentistry, a public health dental hygienist at a federally qualified health center, and hygiene coordinator for an outreach charity clinic.

Jennifer was recognized as the ADHA Colgate Community Outreach 2017 Award Recipient. She serves as a component trustee, Kentucky Oral Health Coalition Executive Committee, Oral Health 2020 Network member, and professional speaker. In her spare time, she travels internationally to provide dental hygiene care. She has taken her passion for public health and created RDH On a Mission.

Jennifer has demonstrated her ability to Think Beyond the prophy by living through her passion for oral health equity.

Let's hear more about how she thinks beyond the prophy.

Haley: What are you currently up to?

Hasch: I am working on a school-based program for my county. I am working with our coalition to fight oral disease in Kentucky’s children. We just finished our statewide surveillance project and are looking to make targeted efforts based on that data. Our state oral health program will be updated this year by a diverse and engaged group of stakeholders.

Haley: Why did you become a dental hygienist?

Hasch: I was the OHI teacher on a mission trip to rural Jamaica at 14. I could see an obvious connection between a clean mouth and self-confidence. Children that had never owned a toothbrush were so excited to get their teeth cleaned and take one home. The connection between a healthy, beautiful smile and the wholeness of a person never left me. My family dentist suggested I pursue hygiene and I never looked back.

Haley: How have you kept your momentum to reach your goals?

Hasch: Teachers, mentors, and colleagues have all made huge impacts in my career. I have been blessed to be surrounded by positivity and helpfulness. Every hygienist I have reached out to by email, social media, or in person has always been willing to lend advice, trouble shoot, or point me in the right direction. RDHs like to help people by nature, I truly believe that.  My journey has been shaped and edified by other awesome hygienists. When I am struggling with the next step, I reach out.

Haley: What mentoring moment helped you to think beyond the prophy?

Hasch: An ADHA trustee from my state suggested I start to teach CEs. We had collaborated in several leadership meetings and she believed in me. She recognized my passion for our profession and encouraged me to trust in my own knowledge and abilities.

Haley: What tips do you have for other dental professionals who want to do more in our profession and who are looking for professional freedom?

Hasch: Find your niche. What makes you tick? What makes your heart beat fast? What could you talk about for hours? Do that. Find a way to make your passion your career. Dream big and make an impact that you can be proud of.

Haley: How do you maintain the joy in your life?

Hasch: Service. When I am putting others before me I am most at peace. Outreach gives me a realistic perspective. Working toward justice in oral health equity is my calling.

Haley: Anything else you would like to add?

Hasch: I am immensely proud to be a registered dental hygienist. I am a provider of prevention and therapy. I save lives. I restore health and confidence. I teach independence and self-care. I advocate for health justice. Our career has enormous opportunity for nationwide impact. Let’s band together and make it happen!

Listen to the Beyond the Prophy podcast featuring Jennifer (episode 2) and hear more about her journey. To listen to the podcast, click here.

Jasmin Haley, RDH, BSDH, CDA, is the founder and CEO of Beyond the Prophy LLC, co-host of the MOMgienists Podcast, and adjunct faculty of dental hygiene at a community college. She has 15 years combined experience in the dental field as a dental hygiene educator, clinician, and dental assistant. Haley’s interests include HIV/AIDS, cultural competency, and dental public health. She offers continuing dental education and can be reached at info@beyondtheprophy.com.

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