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Magazine Features UAFS Student Work

Magazine Features UAFS Student Work(Posted: January 6, 2013)

A paper written by three recent graduates of the dental hygiene program at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith has been published in a national publication.

The three registered dental hygienists – Leah Beckum of St. Paul, Rebekah Hinkle of Fort Smith and Terri West of Greenwood – graduated from UAFS in May 2012. Beckum works part time in Fayetteville and four days a week in Siloam Springs. Hinkle recently accepted a full-time position in Siloam Springs. West is employed part time in Waldron.

Their paper, written and presented last spring at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at UAFS, is in the January issue of Access, which is produced by the American Dental Hygienists' Association and can be found online at the ADHA website under publications. Title of the article is "S.T.A.M.P. of Approval: The Use of Specifically Targeted Antimicrobial Peptides in the Reduction of Dental Caries."

Pamela Davidson of Greenwood, assistant professor in the dental hygiene program, said the paper focused on new research that utilizes a peptide that targets the specific bacteria that is associated with dental decay.

"Currently, the most effective measures for fighting dental decay are fluoride-containing products or antibacterial mouth rinses that target all bacteria, both good and bad," said Davidson. "With the use of a peptide that only destroys the 'bad' bacteria, researchers hope to eventually find a way to effectively control decay in both children and adults."

Davidson said the students did an "excellent job" researching the topic and preparing the paper for publication.

"I think it is very important for our profession to encourage students to engage in research and then provide a forum for them to share their work," she said. "I am very proud of their contribution to the practice of dental hygiene."

Dr. Mitzi Efurd of Fort Smith, UAFS dental hygiene program director, said the current article is the second time for UAFS graduates to be recognized through Access magazine.

"A project by four previous students was published in August of last year," said Efurd. "This again shows the quality of our graduates and the work they do at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith."

Dr. Carolyn Mosley of Fort Smith, dean of the College of Health Sciences, agreed.

"UAFS dental hygiene students are the best in the United States, and we have outcomes that support that statement, so I'm not surprised to see additional publication of our student work," said Mosley.

UAFS has offered an Associate of Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene since the program began in 1999 and will begin offering a bachelor's degree in fall 2014. The Dental Hygiene program operates a dental clinic as part of the teaching environment and provides dental health services to the public, including exams, cleanings, X-rays and fluoride treatments.

Article by: Sondra LaMar, Director of Public Relations

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