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Dental Hygiene Names New Graduate Program Director

June 14, 2021

Idaho State University has named Leciel Bono director of the dental hygiene graduate program.

“I am very excited to be working in our graduate program with the graduate students,” Bono said. “Our program is in the top five nationwide, and many of our graduates go on to work in leadership positions, educational settings, and public health.”

Bono says she is proud that the program is so flexible for students, being offered 97 percent online, offering in-state tuition, and allowing the flexibility for completing courses full-time or part-time. She also noted some accomplishments of students, including Lisa Moravec, who will be finishing her leadership term as the President of the American Dental Hygienists Association.

“We also had a research clinical dental hygienist from the National Institute of Health (NIH) choose our graduate program and her thesis included benchmark research about WHIM syndrome patients and the prevalence of periodontal disease in this population,” Bono said. “She was able to phenotype over one-third of this population, as there are only 60 known cases worldwide. She graduated in May and her research is being submitted to the Journal of Dental Research, which has a high impact factor.”

Bono, currently serving as the chair-elect for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Special Interest Group on Graduate Dental Hygiene Education Programs, was also selected to be the first dental hygienist to serve as a Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (URLEND) trainee.  The URLEND program is based on goals and objectives derived from the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) competencies.

“As a trainee, we worked together on diverse interdisciplinary healthcare teams that also included families of children with special health needs and faculty to form an interdisciplinary learning cohort,” Bono said.

All trainees completed a series of rotations at the University Utah Hospital in genetics, cardiopulmonary, neurology, as well as the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic and Neurobehavior Home Program. In addition, they were paired with families with special health needs children, where they accompanied the family to various activities, appointments, and meetings.

“This experience really provided a view of what these families experience on a daily basis as well as the challenges they face from a health policy and systems standpoint. Advocacy is a large part of this program and it is very family-centered,” Bono said. “Being able to participate as an interdisciplinary trainee with other health care professions and faculty was a very rewarding experience.”

Bono is also pursuing her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration Concentration at Idaho State University.