Meet Flora! Oral Health Researcher, Educator, and NNHH SecretaryOct 06, 2023
Flora Bedinger MSHM, BSDH, RDH is from Boston, Massachusetts and is the new Secretary at NNHH!
Why did you volunteer your time to serve on the board of directors at NNHH?
I am among the many founding members of NNHH, and I have loved watching the progress of everything accomplished so far. I volunteer my time serving on the board of directors so that I can become a part of the progress being made toward the future.
What makes you so passionate about hygienists specializing and having access to high level certificate programs?
I am so passionate because I have read the previous research proving connections in the oral-systemic link, yet there is still a lack of interdisciplinary collaboration and integration of oral care into medical care. There have been previous attempts at integration methods and pilot programs, but implementation rates have remained low. This is because there is little documentation on the models used in these programs. Having high-level certificate programs is a great way to create a documented baseline of knowledge for hygienists who are piloting these integration methods. From here, we can learn and document what is successful and unsuccessful and eventually have hygienists integrated into multiple specialties in the medical field.
How (in your opinion) would healthcare systems including an RDH on their collaborative care teams improve their outcomes and save them money?
Patients often overutilize emergency services for dental issues, causing larger expenses for both the patient and the healthcare system, or patients underutilize primary ambulatory services and do not achieve their healthcare needs and goals. If this problem persists, oral health, and addressing the oral-systemic link, will continue to be absent from medical care and patients will continue to receive substandard care and raise costs for both patients and the healthcare system.
Tell us about your current career and job duties
I work full-time as a hygienist at a small private practice, and I am an instructor at University of the People, teaching the Oral Health course I designed as an elective for undergraduate health science majors. I am also working toward my Doctorate in Business Administration right now, focusing on Health Services. I am conducting research on how to create a new role for hygienists within Massachusetts primary care offices that are affiliated with a larger comprehensive, collaborative, and integrated health system.
What would you say to hygienists considering membership with NNHH?
Come be a part of the progress we are making toward the future!
Connect with Flora at [email protected]