All 28 students who recently graduated from Virginia Western Community College’s Dental Hygiene Program both here in Roanoke and at the program’s distance site, Danville Community College, passed the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) clinical examination on the first attempt.
The clinical ADEX exam not only evaluates students’ clinical skills but also their knowledge and ability to provide safe and effective patient care. Students must pass this clinical exam and a comprehensive national written exam to obtain licensure to practice as a Registered Dental Hygienist.
In order to prepare, students spend five semesters treating patients in the Virginia Western and Danville Community College on-campus Dental Hygiene Clinics. The Dental Hygiene Clinic provides preventive dental hygiene care to patients at its on-campus sites in Roanoke and Danville, respectively. The dental hygiene students offer a variety of oral health services under faculty supervision. The clinic provides all service free of charge. Anyone interested in being a patient at the Virginia Western clinical site may call 540-857-7221, and anyone interested in being a patient at the Danville clinical site may call 434-797-8424.
Virginia Western Community College began offering an Associate of Applied Science degree in dental hygiene in 1970. In an effort to help overcome the maldistribution of the dental hygiene workforce in underserved areas of the Commonwealth, Virginia Western began delivering the Associate of Applied Science Degree Dental Hygiene Program to Danville Community College via distance learning in 1995, graduating the first class in 1997. This grant-funded initiative was just the second example of such a venture in the nation. The program expanded to include Laurel Ridge Community College in 2000. Students are admitted to the distance sites biennially. All students, regardless of site, enroll in the same classes and have the same clinical experiences, just at a different physical location.
“We are so proud of our recent Dental Hygiene Program graduates,” said Marty Sullivan, Virginia Western’s Dean of Health Professions. “Over the course of the past two years, they have developed their ability to implement the critical thinking and problem-solving needed in this profession. Their 100 percent pass rate on the ADEX clinical examination shows they are all prepared to immediately serve their communities.”