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Loma Linda School of Dentistry Launches Program in Palm Desert

An open house for the new program is set for 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28.

Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, a leader in the nation’s dental health education and training, is launching a new dental hygiene associate of science degree program in Palm Desert.

An open house for the new program is set for 3 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 28, at a state-of-the-art location in the Pointe Monterey Business Park, 34-289 Gateway Drive, Building G in Palm Desert. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m.

“We are very excited and proud to offer this program to dental hygiene students in Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley,” said Dr. Charles Goodacre, dean of LLUSD. “This program will help us fulfill our mission of continuing the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ, while providing excellent educational opportunities to students in the Coachella Valley.”

Dignitaries and guests expected at the event include Dr. Richard Hart, LLU president, Senator William Emmerson (R-Hemet), an alumnus of LLUSD, College of the Desert President Jerry R. Patton, Palm Desert Mayor Jean Benson and Barbara deBoom, president/CEO of the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce.

Kristi Wilkins, chair of the LLU Department of Dental Hygiene, said the program would enhance access to dental care and oral health training for the fast-growing communities in the area.

“A dental clinic offering care for underserved groups will be part of the program,” she said.

The new program will enroll 28 students each year. Many of the students are expected to come from College of the Desert, where they will have finished their general education and required biomedical science and clinical training.

Program participants will receive training from Loma Linda University professors who will provide rigorous dental hygiene science and clinical training. The teaching staff of seven will include a full-time dentist and board-certified hygienists.

The seven-quarter, full-time program over 21 months will cost about $52,000. Students will be eligible to take the National Dental Hygiene Board written examination after completing six quarters of training, and will be eligible to take the California licensing examinations at the conclusion of the program. According to U.S. News & World Report, dental hygiene is a “growing field with plenty of opportunity” that saw median annual earnings of about $67,000 in 2009.

For more information about the program, check out http://www.llu.edu/dentistry/admissions/hygiene-off-campus.page

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