Hygienists’ Opinions Sought: Consider Applying for Colgate’s Advisory Board

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Have you thought about applying for a position on the Colgate Oral Health Advisory Board (COHAB) for 2020? I sincerely hope everyone knows about this opportunity Colgate provides for hygienists. The board is made up of a small number of diverse dental professionals. The number of years practicing, location, area of interest, and practice type are all taken into consideration with a dental hygienist’s application.

The advisory board was created 10 years ago to bring hygienists and scientists together, and the union allowed Colgate better insight into everyday patient care outcomes. Colgate has an amazing philosophy about the partnership and truly wants to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about daily life as a dental hygienist and how patient care can be improved through products and research.

Colgate has provided many opportunities for hygienists to educate themselves about a myriad of topics and places to share thoughts and gather new information. Are you currently using professional social media? Through Instagram, Facebook, and various websites, we can empower ourselves professionally.

Are you a member of the COHA Community Facebook group? This is a closed group of a community of hygienists sharing techniques, successes, and daily challenges, as well as new product updates. The Colgate Professional website offers dental professionals educational opportunities as well as updated research and product information. Armed with knowledge and support, we can provide the most current level of care to our patients.

I was among the 11 selected this year to participate in COHAB, and my level of respect for the science that goes into establishing an oral care product went through the roof. Participants were flown to Colgate in Piscataway, N.J., where we had two intensive days of sharing ideas, research and development, and meeting with the scientists who create the products. Touring the facility and seeing firsthand the sheer volume of machinery and lab space devoted to oral health gives a totally new perspective to patient care.

Each board member was encouraged to share our thoughts and experiences in a way few ever have the opportunity to do. The comradery and respect for each idea was inspiring, and each member has a unique perspective to share as we all practice differently with differing outcomes. It is not often that we have an opportunity to truly be heard, to be acknowledged for our thoughts and ideas, and to be encouraged to help develop new and improved adjuncts to help our patients.

Please consider applying for the 2020 advisory board and exploring the many ways that you can empower yourself and increase the joy in your career. Applications begin mid-January and can be found by clicking here, and is under the “Hygienists” tab.

Here are thoughts on COHAB from four of this year’s members:

Shanda Hammond: I was nominated by my companion hygienist. She had seen it come up on Facebook and then let me know that she had nominated me. I was even more surprised when Colgate let me know that I was selected as a finalist. I had my phone interview on Memorial Day. At that point, I became super excited at the prospect of being chosen. I didn’t really know what to expect of the experience, but it was above and beyond what I could have expected. The company as a whole even surprised me at how much they value patients and professionals over the business aspect. I’m a Colgate-for-life hygienist after this amazing opportunity.

Ryan Rutar: I self-nominated when I was reading about it on Facebook. I thought this sounds like fun. Couldn’t hurt to try. So I submitted and didn’t hear anything for a long time and figured they had already made their selections. Then I get an email asking if they can set up a phone interview as a finalist. I was shocked and a little nervous because I haven’t done anything like this before. I got to talk to Tess Black and had a great conversation that turned into a trip! I was very impressed by Colgate’s hard work to treat the patient, but to back it up with science and care. I love the fact that they want to know from us how we can make our lives and our patients’ lives better. It’s a great experience and would do it again in a heartbeat!

Toroda Stanley: I read about becoming a part of COHAB on Facebook and submitted an essay right then and there on my phone. I spoke about my experiences, my accomplishments, my goals, and my love for this field. I first received an email, then a late-night phone interview from Tess. On Friday, I received the exciting email inviting me to be a part of this elite group. It’s been a fun ride so far, and I am so grateful for this opportunity!

Anna Ladzinski Orzol: I too, self-nominated. I’ve nominated myself a few times in the past but unfortunately was not chosen. So when I received a message that I was a finalist, I found myself so excited I was doing the “happy dance.” I was honored to be chosen to attend such a special event hosted by Colgate. I enjoyed the collaboration with my peers and learning how we all work so differently in the states we practice in. Colgate and Tess Black brought together a wonderful group of dental hygienists to learn about the science and technology behind Colgate’s oral health care products. I appreciate the time spent with everyone at Colgate.

Click here and go to the “Hygienists” tab to apply. Applications begin mid-January.

Now Listen to the Today’s RDH Dental Hygiene Podcast Below:

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Debbi Viger, RDH, BHS
Debra Viger, RDH, BHS, has 30 years of clinical dental hygiene, dental office management, and treatment coordination experience. Embracing a complete approach to efficient dental office operations, she successfully encourages offices to work at peak performance levels with a renewed sense of purpose and enthusiasm. She is past president of McHenry County Dental Hygiene Society and past chair of continuing education. She has published in both RDH and Access Magazine.

Debra is currently a Director of Outreach, teaching daily home care techniques, nutrition for dental health, and desensitization for the developmentally delayed and autistic community. Through her program, she has demonstrated that all patients are special and need unique treatment options. This programming is easily shared including the video training. Reach out for further information to nviger8 [at] aol.com.