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Expanded Function Dental Hygiene (EFDH) Certificate Program

The high rate of tooth decay and caries in Hawaii children prompted the UH Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH) to increase the pediatric content in the BS Dental Hygiene curriculum and expand the dental hygienist workforce to increase access to preventive dental services statewide.

The Department of Dental Hygiene enhanced the BS curriculum to increase pediatric education and clinical experiences for students. Additionally, a 9 month post-baccalaureate EFDH certificate program in pediatrics was developed to educate licensed dental hygienists on the specialty care of infants and young children. The interprofessional EFDH curriculum includes developmental, social and behavioral instruction with an emphasis on dental education, assessment, diagnosis and 360 hours clinical hours delivering preventative services to young children in underserved communities. The Expanded Function Dental Hygiene (EFDH) Certificate Program enrolled 3 students in August 2017 and is the first time that the SONDH nursing and dental hygiene departments partnered to offer a program.

In 2019, the EFDH program is focusing on recruiting and enrolling neighbor island students where there is the greatest need for qualified pediatric dental providers. Course content will be delivered in a distance online format and clinical experience will be done on underserved and rural communities on the student’s home island. In 2010, the SONDH began the successful Maui and Kauai Nursing AD to BS program and has the expertise to ensure the program will be successful.

In fall 2018, the UH Manoa Dental Hygiene Clinic provided dental services to young children through partnerships with local Head Start programs. The Head Start programs bring 3-5 year old children, whose parents have provided written consent, to the Manoa campus for a healthy lifestyle field trip that includes dental care, nutritional assessment and education aimed at improving oral health outcomes and reducing obesity. Parents receive documentation of the oral health services provided, an oral health assessment and recommendations for future care as well as a list of local pediatric dentists accepting new patients and willing to serve children with MedQUEST insurance. Additionally, DH students provide pediatric oral preventive health services at federally qualified health centers, Hawaii Keiki school-based health clinics, and private pediatric dental offices on Oahu.

EFDH students participated in the Hawaii Interprofessional Education and Collaborative (HIPEC) Alliance at the Dole Middle School health center. The EFDH students worked collaboratively with students from the UH schools of nursing, pharmacy, and medicine (psychiatry) to assist in improving health outcomes for school-age children to improve attendance and academic success. In addition, the EFDH students have clinical experiences at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center (WCCHC) where dental care is provided to children in collaboration with the NYU Langone Dental residency program under the supervision of Lynn Fujimoto, DMD. Community outreach is also emphasized with oral health education. In 2018, EFDH and BS dental hygiene students provided education to more than 600 children at Hawaii Children and Youth Day. Furthermore, education was provided to several Oahu schools at community health fairs and invited school events.

Visit UH Manoa Nursing & Dental Hygiene’s website, for more information about the EFDH certificate.

Director and Core Faculty

Deborah Mattheus, PhD, CPNP, APRN-Rx
Principal Investigator/Project Director
Assistant Professor
UH Manoa Nursing

Kristine Osada, RDH, BSDH, Med
Department Chair and Instructor
UH Manoa Dental Hygiene

Lynn Fujimoto, DMD, Certificate in Pediatrics
Faculty & Pediatric Dentist
UH Manoa Dental Hygiene

Natasha Fong, RDH, Med
UH Manoa Dental Hygiene

Melinda Lau, RDH, Med
UH Manoa Dental Hygiene


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D85HP30832, Pre-doctoral Training in General, Pediatric, and Public Health Dentistry and Dental Hygiene. This information or content and conclusions are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by, HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.