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School of Health Professions :: Programs of Study

Dental Hygiene :: Joint Venture with DCC & LFCC

Virginia Western Community College began delivery of the Associate of Applied Science Degree Dental Hygiene Program to Danville Community College via distance learning in 1997, graduating the first class in 1999. The program expanded to include Lord Fairfax Community College in 2000, graduating the first class in 2002. Students are admitted to the distance sites biennially. The program is designed to prepare qualified students as primary preventive oral health professionals licensed to practice dental hygiene. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to take national, regional, and state board examinations leading to licensure as a registered dental hygienist (RDH).

How does the distance program operate?

The Joint Venture programs are a distance satellite of VWCC's accredited dental hygiene program. Students enroll in the same classes and have clinical experiences just like students on the Roanoke campus. The dental hygiene classroom environment consists of various modalities. While most courses originate from the main campus at VWCC, some courses may originate from one of the distance campuses or be in an on-line format. The dental hygiene lecture is delivered "live" to the other classroom site by compressed video (VTEL); students can see and talk to the classroom instructor and to students at the Roanoke site. Preclinical, clinic, and laboratory courses will take place at the clinical facility developed by the Joint Venture site. DCC has a new facility in the Foundation Hall on the Danville campus. LFCC students attend and have a clinical site on the Middletown campus. Students may complete any remaining general support courses in the curriculum (English, Microbiology, Psychology, etc.) at DCC or LFCC while completing the program. (BIO 141 and 142 or equivalents must be completed as prerequisites.)

How do LFCC, and DCC students communicate with VWCC faculty who teach distance courses?

Students can talk with the instructor during class sessions using the compressed video. In addition, weekly conference time will be provided for students at the joint venture site as "office hours" for faculty-student communication. Students will have individual email accounts. Other communication can be done by phone or fax. A local program coordinator is employed at the DCC and LFCC sites to serve as a clinical faculty member and academic advisor for students. This individual is a dental hygienist with an education background.

How can I learn more about the student experience at the joint venture site?

For specific questions about the distance classroom and clinical experiences of the students at Joint Venture sites, you may be able to speak with the following Site Coordinators during the Fall or Spring semester: 

LFCC campus: Dawn Southerly 540-868-7023
DCC campus: Robin Mitchell 434-797-8517 (126 Foundation Hall)

To apply for admission, send all application materials directly to: Pamela Woody, VWCC, 3091 Colonial Ave., Roanoke, VA 24015. She is your assigned advisor at VWCC who will review your application material for completeness and provide guidance on the admission requirements. You may contact her at 540-857-7307 or e-mail Early application is encouraged for advising purposes.

Tuition: $
Credits: 72 Hours
Time: 2 Years


Location: Fralin Center HP 214A or HP 339
Phone: 540-857-6325, 857-6644 or 857-7307
Fax: 540-857-6640

Mailing address:
3091 Colonial Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA 24015

Program Head

Colleen K. McGowan
Interim Co-Director, Dental Hygiene
A.S. - Richard Bland College, 1980
A.S. - Virginia Western Community College, 1994
B.S. - Old Dominion University 2008
M.Ed. - Mary Baldwin University 2016

Paula W. Derbyshire
Interim Co-Director, Dental Hygiene
B.S. - Longwood University, 1980
B.S.D.H. - Virginia Commonwealth University, 1983
M.S.H.Ed. - Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1992

School of Health Professions

Martha Sullivan, Dean