Normandale receives HRSA Grant for Dental Hygiene

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

Normandale Community College recently received a $1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA).

The grant focuses on new workforce models to prepare dental hygienists for the charge of expanding scope with new competencies to meet the oral health care needs of a vulnerable, underserved and rural populations.

This project will build on the foundation of existing curriculum and pathways, and the formal partnerships established with Metropolitan State and the Minnesota Department of Health and the Hennepin County Medical Center, along with collaborations with several safety-net clinics that have facilities in the Minnesota-St. Paul area and statewide. The project team will be composed of personnel with extensive experience in dental hygiene education, oral health initiatives, and federal grant funding. A Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation grant awarded in 2013 provided the groundwork, data and connections that informed the HRSA grant application.

Normandale and Metropolitan State currently offer a dual admissions and enrollment plan in Dental Hygiene that allows students to simultaneously receive an associate and bachelor's degree (AS/BS) on Normandale's campus. Through this grant, Normandale and Metropolitan State will focus heavily on strengthening the collaborative dental hygiene practice infrastructure, replicating the Dental Therapy/Advanced Dental, replicating the dual admissions and enrollment model at other two-year dental hygiene programs within Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system, modifying curriculum relative to health literacy and cultural differences, and providing leadership statewide and nationally on new oral health care providers and training models.

"This grant is an excellent example of making collaborations work for the greater good of Minnesota in meeting their oral healthcare needs," said Normandale Community College Dean of Health Sciences Colleen Brickle. "The Minnesota Department of Health made sure our goals met the Minnesota Oral Health Plan, and will be instrumental in the evaluation piece of this program going forward. We are also excited to work with Metropolitan State University who has been a great partner."

Normandale was the only community college in the nation to receive this grant. The College joins the University of Minnesota, Columbia University, Tufts University, Rutgers University, University of Puerto Rico, Arizona School of Dentistry, NYU and others as recipients of the grant.

The state of Minnesota has been a leader nationally in the field of Dental Hygiene/Dental Therapy. In 2009, Minnesota was the first state in the nation to pass legislation to establish a mid-level dental practitioner. Since then, innovative models of simultaneous AS/BS degrees and dual licensure Dental Hygiene/Dental Therapy programs have been developed and implemented through the collaborative efforts of Normandale and Metro State. These were the first programs of their kind in the nation.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D85HP28494 Predoctoral Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene for $1,660,032. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, not should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the US Government.