20 Top Professors of Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is about much more than just cleaning teeth. In fact, many people don’t realize how much their dental health affects their overall well-being and life expectancy. Fortunately, there are some amazing professors that can help you learn the best ways to educate your future patients on how best to care for their teeth. These 20 professors are innovators in their field, in everything from their instructional methods to their scholarly research, and also leaders in the dental hygiene community. By studying under one of them, you position yourself to be guided by an experienced and well-regarded scholar and practitioner, who may provide you with much-needed insight and advice as you prepare for a role in dental hygiene, and begin your professional career as a dental hygienist.

Dani Carroll


Cerritos College - Norwalk , CA

Dani Carroll is best known for her incredible teaching style and dedication to her students' learning. In 2011, she won the ADHA Educator of the Year award due to the overwhelming nominations from her students. According to her students, "She absolutely loves her students. Her classes are hard because the material is hard. She makes it as easy and straightforward as possible. I cannot stress enough how awesome she is."

Lorinda L. Coan


Indiana University - Indianapolis , IN

Lorinda L. Coan acts as an assistant clinical professor of Dental Hygiene at Indiana University. She is a noted speaker, and has served as a visiting lecturer and professor many times. Coan is very involved in Sigma Phi Alpha (the Dental Hygiene Honor Society), and served as the President from . She has also served as the President of the Indiana Dental Hygiene Educator's Association. 

Maribeth Stitt


Lone Star College - The Woodlands , TX

Maribeth Stitt  is a professor and Director for the Dental Hygiene program at Lone Star College, in addition to being promoted to the position of Interim Dean for the school. Her unique teaching style and collaborative learning methods have earned her the Teaching Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). She is also a Past President of the Texas Dental Hygiene Educator's Association (TDHEA).

Tracye A. Moore


Northern Arizona University - Flagstaff , AZ

Tracye A. Moore is an active participant in many professional organizations, including the ADHA and the New Era Dental Society. She is also the current President of the National Dental Hygienist's Association (NDHA), and advocates for minorities in the field of Dental Hygiene. She is the author of several book chapters, including "Teledentistry and Dental Hygiene," and has recently released a bilingual children's book advocating good dental health, "I Want to Be a Dental High Genius!"

Gail L. Aamodt


Pacific University - Forest Grove , OR

Gail Aamodt is one of the rising stars in the field of dental hygiene. She recently won the ADHA Crest Oral-B Educator of the Year Award (2014) for her "excellence in teaching, mentoring, and helping students achieve their goals." She is the author of many professional papers and a textbook, "Color Atlas of Dental Hygiene: Periodontology." 

Lisa Bell


St. Petersburg College - St. Petersburg , FL

Lisa Bell brings her phenomenal patient focus into the classroom, where she guides students to continually educate about the benefits of dental health. She recently won the ADHA Crest Oral-B Award for Clinical Dental Hygienists which focuses on, "contributions dental hygienists make in their patients’ lives," in response to the dental clinic she founded (Salvation Army Dental Clinic) which provides free dental care to the homeless. 

Mitzi Efurd


University of Arkansas - Little Rock , AK

Mitzi Efurd is one of the most influential names in Dental Hygiene education. She is a current member of the Joint Commission on National Dental Exams (JCNDE) and an active member of the ADHA. She is both a professor and the Chairman of the Dental Hygiene program at the University of Arkansas, and her community activities include an annual "Extraction Day," which help between 170-200 people each year. 

Laurel Risom

Laurel Risom


University of Bridgeport - Bridgeport , CT

Laurel Risom is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Fones School of Dental Hygiene at the University of Bridgeport. She has been influential in programs such as Mission of Mercy, A Healthier Connecticut by 2020, and Healthy Resources in Action. She is also the Past President of the Connecticut Dental Hygienist's Association (CDHA-RDH), and a delegate for the ADHA. Her research has been published in many places, including the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, Journal of Dental Research, and Access magazine.

Laura Manning-Lee


University of Detroit - Detroit , MI

Laura Manning-Lee is an active contributor to both her students and her community. She is an active participant in the "Heartfelt Project," which provides lower-income children free dental care. Her action in this project earned her the 1998 ADHA Colgate Community Outreach Award. In addition to being a member of both the ADHA and MDHA, she is a Past President of the Sigma Phi Alpha National Dental Hygiene Honor Society. 

Anne Gwozdek


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor , MI

Anne Gwozdek has a passion for teaching that has led her into both civic and educational pursuits. In 2013, she received the prestigious Sonicare and RDH Magazine Mentor of the Year Award, which highlights professors with an outstanding dedication to their students' successes. She has served as the President of the Michigan Dental Hygienists' Association (MDHA), and currently acts as a professor and Director of the Dental Hygiene Graduate and Degree Completion Programs at the University of Michigan.

Wendy Kerschbaum


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor , MI

Wendy Kerschbaum's innovative research and mentorship have been very influential on many of the hygienists on this list. Her influence led her to be a part of the National Oral Health Care Conference Task Force on Advanced Dental Hygiene Practitioners. In 2012, she received the ADHA Educator of the Year Award. In addition, her achievements with the Student Chapter of the ADHA formed the basis of the Wendy Kerschbaum SADHA Emerging Leader Award. She is the author of over 35 publications. 

Jane Halaris


University of Michigan - Ann Arbor , MI

Jane Halaris's research with Dental Hygiene mentorship recently earned her the acclaimed Joan K. Wilder Graduate Studies Research Award from the University of Detroit Mercy. She has been active in a number of state and national associations, and has served as the President of the Michigan Dental Hygienist's Association (MDHA) as well as on the ADHA Council on Practice and Regulation. She also acted as Chair of the Michigan State Board of Dentistry and currently serves as the Northeast Regional Board Examiner. 

Nancy Keselyak


University of Missouri - Kansas City , MO

Nancy Keselyak is known for her attention to her students' learning, as well as her intense course offerings. She recently won the ADHA Dental Hygiene Educator of the Year Award for her students' success at the national level. Keselyak has also won many teaching awards at the college level, including the Clinical Teacher of the Year Award, the Lecturer of the Year Award, and the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award at UMKC. 

Lisa J. Moravec


University of Nebraska - Gering , NE

Lisa J. Moravec is the most recent Past President of the Nebraska Dental Hygienist's Association (2013-2014) in addition to her duties as an assistant professor and Coordinator for the Department of Dental Hygiene at UN Medical Center. She also acts as the representative Trustee for Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska for the ADHA. She teaches Preclinic Techniques, and all upper-level Clinical Dental Hygiene courses at UNMC.

Christine N. Nathe


University of New Mexico - Albequerque , NM

Christine Nathe is a member of the research faculty team at the UNM, as well as the Graduate Program Director. She has practiced dental hygiene for both private practices as well as military organizations, nursing homes, prisons, and schools. She is the author of some of the most influential books in dental hygiene, including "Dental Public Health and Research: Contemporary Practice for the Dental Hygienist, 3rd Ed." Her many awards include the ADHA/Johnson and Johnson Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene. 

Rebecca Wilder


University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill , NC

Rebecca Wilder is an avid publisher and researcher in addition to being an honored professor. She is the current Director of Faculty Development at UNC - Chapel Hill as well as the Director of the Master-level Dental Hygiene program. She has been very active in the ADHA and has served on many influential councils. Her work with nonsurgical periodontal therapy has earned her the Colgate/International Association for Dental Research Oral Health Research Award in addition to the Pfizer/ADHA Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene. Wilder is also the current Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Dental Hygiene

Harold A. Henson


University of Texas - Houston , TX

Harold A. Henson has taken on many leadership positions within the field of Dental Hygiene, including as the President of the Supreme Chapter of Sigma Phi Alpha (a dental hygiene fraternity) and the Texas Dental Hygiene Educator's Association. He was also the Chair of the ADEA Section for Dental Hygiene Education and serves as an editor to journals such as the Journal of Dental Hygiene and ACCESS Magazine. He is also known for his excellent teaching, which earned him the ADHA Procter and Gamble/Oral-B Educator of the Year Award (2009).

Donna W. Morris


University of Texas - Houston , TX

Donna Morris is a professor of Dental Hygiene and Periodontics at the University of Texas. She is an active member of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), and helped develop the new Educational Guidelines for New Oral Health Professionals in 2010. She has received the ADEA Dental Hygiene Teaching Excellence Award, the UT Dean's Teaching Excellence Awards, and many others. In addition to teaching, Morris currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Dental Hygiene

Barbara L. Dixon


University of Utah - Salt Lake City , UT

Barbara L. Dixon has been a very active member of the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) for 40 years, and currently serves as a trustee. has been an influential thought leader for the industry. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 25 Women in Dentistry by the Dental Products Report, partially due to her revolutionary work with the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations to set national dental hygienist standards. 


Each of the members on this list have been chosen through careful research based on the following criteria:

1. Active Teaching. All of these professors are actively teaching or mentoring students at an accredited college.

2. Publication. Many of these professors have been published in online or print professional journals.

3. Thought Leadership. Professors on this list have been chosen due to their leadership in the dental hygiene community, based on speaking engagements, public leadership, or social media activity.

4. Extracurricular Involvement. Each of these individuals are involved in both teaching and outside professional engagements, such as professional communities and educational organizations.