By Renee Johnson, BSDH, RF - February 9th, 2023
Women in Dentistry
Renee Johnson, BSDH, RF
30 years ago, I started as in private practice as a Registered Dental Hygienist. I have enjoyed private practice from the time that I graduated from school as a dental hygienist in 1982. I currently work as a public health hygienist and clinical faculty at a hospital safety net clinic in Minnesota.
I have served as an Advisory Board member on various public health boards, where I shares information about medical/dental integration and key preventive oral health strategies. For years, I have been a Give Kids A Smile coordinator, and I have helped many children experience their first dental visit. Over the years I have volunteered as a community educator in many settings including school-based classrooms, long term care facilities, community health fairs, classes for English language learners, and at high school career fairs.
Because I have three daughters and many grandchildren, I am keenly aware that oral wellness starts in infancy. In 2014, I helped develop the “First Tooth, First Dental Visit” program. This unique platform of activities and promotional materials was created to inform a wide range of people including medical providers, public health systems, schools, and parents about two critical preventive strategies: establishing a dental home by age one and fluoride varnish application. The innovative “First Tooth” initiative brought light to a practice that was not yet common. I went on rounds with dental hygiene students at a local hospital to teach prenatal and post-partum women the “why” of establishing a family dentist relationship during their child’s first year.
I have always been a lifelong learner. In 2012, I earned my Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) online and am now a certified Dental Infection Prevention and Control (CDIPC) specialist, laser certified, restorative function certified, and in the process of completing the NNHH Oral- Systemic Educator certificate. I am also a member of ADHA, the Dental Codeology Consortium, and the Minnesota Oral Health Coalition. In the past I served as President of the Minesota Dental Hygienists’ Association twice and am an ADHA Delegate.
My passions include promoting health equity for all, educating about oral/systemic links, advocating for hygienists and the public, and mentoring future professionals in her numerous leadership roles with the Minnesota DHA. My work has impacted politicians, educators, Head Start programs, medical providers, nurses from other countries, and those studying dentistry, dental hygiene, and dental therapy.