The American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) has selected Wai-Sum Leung, BSDH, RDH, to participate in its Graduate Student Clinician Program for her research, “Implementing Environmental Sustainability: Educational Intervention in Dental Hygiene Instruction.”
Leung is a master’s degree candidate in dental hygiene education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry. She said that her research was inspired by her undergraduate studies in dental hygiene and environmental studies.
“I’m really excited and honored to be selected and given the opportunity to share my research with a wider audience. My research topic, environmental sustainability in dentistry (ESD), is not a popular topic in the US, but it is extremely important,” Leung said.
“Climate change is the biggest crisis facing today and future generations. Prioritizing sustainability in dentistry promotes public health and prevents adverse outcomes,” she said.
“Other healthcare fields (i.e., nursing, internal medicine, etc.) are turning their attention to sustainable healthcare/healthcare education, and dentistry should be a part of this movement,” she said.
“I hope that my research can be a catalyst for change in US dentistry and dental/dental hygiene curriculum where ESD will become standardized practice,” she said.
The ADHA’s graduate student clinician research program aims to promote dental hygiene research by supporting one graduate dental hygiene student from each accredited graduate dental hygiene program in presenting their research at ADHA’s annual conference in June.
The program provides graduate dental hygiene students with the opportunity to compete for research awards and recognition.
“In continuing with the tradition of exceptional graduate students, Wai-Sum has shown a remarkable dedication, innovation, and passion for discovery,” said Jennie Brame, RDH, MS, director of the Graduate Program in Dental Hygiene Education at the Adams School of Dentistry.
“She demonstrates the true spirit of our school’s mission and values and strives to be impactful and leads by a desire to transform oral health education,” Brame said.
Leung graduated from the Adamas School of Dentistry with a BS in dental hygiene in 2019. Her thesis committee includes chair Beth Kornegay, RDH, MS; Tiffanie White, RDH, MS; and Lindsay Dubbs, PhD.