Department of Dental Hygiene

The Program of Dental Hygiene was established in the College of Dentistry in 1934, and graduated its first class in 1935.

The Program of Dental Hygiene was established in the College of Dentistry in 1934, and graduated its first class in 1935. In 1947, educational requirements extended the curriculum to a two-year course of study. The program awards a Certificate in Dental Hygiene and is approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Graduates are eligible to apply for licensure in all states and the District of Columbia as well as foreign countries.


The mission of the accredited Dental Hygiene Program is to provide graduates with competencies necessary for entry into the Dental Hygiene profession in the United States and in the global community. Moreover, the program is committed to providing educational opportunities to promising minority students with particular emphasis on attracting African-Americans.


The Dental Hygiene Program recognizes the need for evidence-based paradigm shifts to address ongoing advancements in oral health care and changes in education technology. In the future, the division plans to offer the baccalaureate degree and a baccalaureate degree completion program. Curricula will be offered both full and part-time; evening courses available; and distance learning options will be initiated. In addition, the program will broaden its curriculum base by increasing its interdisciplinary focus.


  • To provide students and faculty with a nurturing educational environment
  • To maximize each students’ potential and become exceptional healthcare professionals
  • To educate future leaders
  • To recruit African-Americans and other minority students in order to increase minority enrollment
  • To participate in and support community activities, locally, nationally and internationally
  • To develop and implement faculty and student research programs

Code of Ethics

  • Model and comply with the ADHA and ADEA Codes of Ethics and Professionalism.
  • Act in a manner that best serves the education and professional development of students.
  • Interact with students and faculty colleagues in a professional, civil, and collegial manner in accordance with the College of Dentistry’s policies.
  • Role model patient-centered care that is ethically based and legally sound.
  • Impartially evaluate student performance regardless of the student’s religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or other criteria.
  • Support academic and department policies

Health and Safety

As a healthcare provider, you will interact with a variety of patients as part of the educational process in the College of Dentistry. Dental hygiene students will have exposure to blood, saliva and other body fluids potentially containing infectious diseases. Howard University and the College of Dentistry are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment.

Department Chair
Dawn R. Smith, BSDH, MS
Associate Professor
Department Chair

Nyree Dawson, RDH, BS
Assistant Professor

Sandra D. Osborne, RDH, MS
Assistant Professor

Sefa Laurence, BA, RDH, CDA, MS
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Guest Faculty
Dr. Gail Cherry-Peppers, DDS, MS
Associate Professor

Andre Farquharson, DDS
Associate Professor

Donna Grant-Mills, RDH, MEd, DDS
Associate Professor

Leslie Lawrence, DDS
Associate Professor

Robert Gamble, DDS
Assistant Professor

Bridgette Rhodes, DDS
Assistant Professor