Southern has more than just a dental program

Valeria Perez

In 1975, Missouri Southern officials integrated the dental hygiene program into the list of programs the school has to offer.

Since then, department officials have made it their goal to provide student with a quality education that reflects the best practices in dental hygiene in order to become an ethical licensed, oral healthcare professional.

Kim Rogers serves as the department chair for the program. She chose the position as a way to help others within the healthcare industry.

 “I had two children and was really wanting to find a rewarding healthcare profession that would allow me to spend time with my family,” Rogers said. “Dental hygiene is a profession where you do not have to start at the bottom and [wait] for someone to retire or relocate before you can be offered a position that is days.”

She earned her associate of science degree in Dental Hygiene from Southern, then her bachelor degree in general studies. Rogers later completed a master’s degree in professional studies in public health administration from Fort Hays State University, in Hays, Kansas.

She worked in the private sector for eight years before coming to Southern in 2000 as a faculty member.

“I became part of the MSSU faculty because the director of the [dental hygiene] program when I was a student had planted the seed I should consider teaching,” said Rogers. “Oral health has a direct impact on a patient’s overall health. It is rewarding to part of a team that provides the education for future oral health care providers.”

Twelve months ago, Rogers became the interim department chair. She has embraced the positions responsibilities.

Because the dental hygiene program at Southern is an accelerated program, there are multiple facets to report.

Along with classes, dental hygiene students work in a clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students provide preventative care to patients and are required to be responsible for everything from scheduling to the financial side of the visit.

Rogers also oversees the program’s relationships with external rotations such as the Indian healthcare systems in Oklahoma.

“I love teaching and helping improve the oral health of the public,” she said. “Our program has a solid track record and has been graduating top notch dental hygiene professionals since the late [1970s].

“Our faculty are very dedicated and focused on helping the students succeed.”