DHPE student Rachael Salamon, RDH, MSDH, is immersed in the world of dentistry. Rachael, a professor of dental hygiene at the University of New England and co-owner of a private practice, is also married to a dentist.
“I have the unique ability to see dentistry from all sides, from having started as a dental assistant, to becoming a hygienist, to seeing my husband go through dental school,” Rachael said. “Now, I see it from the academic side, focusing on how to better educate the next generation of dental professionals.”
Realizing a need to expand the industry and train more dental assistants in her home state of Maine, Rachael pursued a license this past year to open her own dental assistant school. Slated to begin its programs in late 2021 or early 2022, Rachael hopes this new school will open doors for adults looking for a new career.
“The program will be offered on nights and weekends, making it accessible to adults who still need to work daytime jobs,” Rachael said. “There aren’t many programs like this, and there is a huge need for dental assistants, so it’s important to me to create this opportunity.”
Rachael plans to run the school for dental assistants while continuing as full-time professor at the University of New England. Rachael is no stranger to multitasking though. As a mother of three young children, a professor and a student of Logan’s Doctorate of Health Professions Education (DHPE) program, opening a school will be another endeavor that Rachael views through her passion for dentistry.
“My whole life is dentistry; I can’t escape it,” Rachael joked. “One thing I like about Logan’s DHPE program is that I can learn from health care professionals in different fields, see my profession from a different standpoint and apply that to my career.”
A practicing dental hygienist for 35 years, Joann Moulton, RDH, MEd has similar reasons for pursuing Logan’s Doctorate of Health Professions Education program.
“I’m currently at a great place in my career but having the additional DHPE credential will only help me improve my skills,” Joann said. “The program is all about learning from other students and sharing in a camaraderie for wanting to grow professionally.”
Joann has found the doctorate program to align with her goals of wanting to become a better teacher, helping in her current position at the University of New England where she is designing the curriculum for the dental hygiene department.
“One thing the DHPE program has taught me is how to write assessments,” Joann said. “This is particularly helpful as I align my own curriculum to better prepare students for their board exams.”
The Doctorate of Health Professions Education program brings together professionals from different health care fields, but it’s also united colleagues in the same industries and even the same institutions, which is the case for Joann and Rachael, who both teach at the University of New England.
“There are a few other dental professionals in the DHPE program, so it’s nice to pick each other’s brains,” Rachael said. “Some are new graduates, and some have been in the field for decades, which encourages me to think about my profession in new ways.”