The dental hygiene degree program at Plaza College in Queens, New York, has received full accreditation from the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). It is New York City’s first new dental hygiene degree program in more than 25 years and the only dental hygiene program in Queens.
CODA oversees all 331 dental hygiene programs, among other dental specialties, throughout the United States. The accreditation process takes four years.
Originally admitted to the program in September 2017, Plaza’s first class of dental hygiene students graduated in May and is now in the process of taking the National Dental Hygiene Board Certification Exam.
Each one of the 2019 graduates also has already passed the ADA’s Clinical Dental Competency Assessments Examination, which is necessary in gaining professional certification.
“The granting of full approval by the Commission on Dental Accreditation is a remarkable validation for our faculty, students, and to their future employers,” said Laura Sleeper, DHSc, RDH, dental hygiene program director.
“And to have earned this accreditation with no ADA Commission reporting limitations speaks volumes to the respected evaluation our faculty and students received,” said Sleeper.
The program enables its students to gain two years of clinical experience by working and training at its state of the art Community Dental Clinic, the school says, which provides free or discounted treatment to patients of all ages throughout the New York City region.
Under the supervision of licensed dentists and hygienists, the students also advance the clinic’s mission to expand the public’s access to quality dental care by providing oral health screenings, treatment plans, and oral hygiene services, the school says.
“The Plaza College Dental Clinic provides a critical health service to New Yorkers in need,” said Margaret Garland, DDS, MS, practicing dentist and dental hygiene program instructor. “Our students are making a true difference and also gaining hands-on experience as they provide accessible and affordable healthcare, especially for children and underserved populations.”