About the Center: Mission, Goals and Projects

The National Center for Dental Hygiene Research was established through a 3-year grant from the Bureau of Health Professions (BHP), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 1993. Development of the Center has been based on a collaborative model that brings researchers, educators and clinicians together to develop and conduct studies related to national dental hygiene research priorities. The National Dental Hygiene Research Agenda provides directions to hygienists on priority research areas that can help advance the profession. A national panel of dental hygiene leaders and accomplished researchers serve in an advisory capacity.

More recently, the National Center expanded its scope to have a focus on translational research to enhance clinical practice. This is now reflected in the name of the center, National Center for Dental Hygiene Research & Practice (NCDHRP), our mission and goals.


The mission of the National Center for Dental Hygiene Research & Practice (NCDHRP) is to promote the health of the public by fostering the development, implementation and dissemination of oral health research; establishing an infrastructure to support dental hygiene research; and, strengthening the scientific foundation for the discipline of dental hygiene.


  1. Increase awareness of dental hygienists' contributions to multidisciplinary healthcare research.
  2. Serve as an authoritative source on dental hygiene practice and outcomes research.
  3. Create and facilitate opportunities that promote leadership and scholarship.
  4. Foster research efforts that address the objectives of oral health research agendas.
  5. Promote the translation of research evidence so that it is meaningful and useful in dental hygiene education and practice.

NCDHRP Organization Chart

Grant Training, Research Projects and Educational Programs

In 1995, a second 3-year grant from the BHP for development of a knowledgebase and communications system, the DHNet, and training in its use was funded. The DHNet serves as the electronic infrastructure for the Center.

Other major grant training grants and commissioned projects have included:

  • White Paper on Evidence-Based Decision Making in Dental Hygiene Practice, Education and Research
  • A Faculty Development Model for Integrating Evidence-Based Decision-Making into Allied Health Curricula
  • An Interdisciplinary Approach to Enhancing Culturally Competent Care

These projects are on the Evidence-Based Decision Making website, which can be found at: http://www.usc.edu/ebnet. In addition to these training grant projects, two studies have been conducted to validate the ADHA National Dental Hygiene Research Agenda. The first was conducted in 1994-95 and then updated in 2006-07.

Currently, a national study is being conducted on Dental Hygienists' Knowledge, Opinions and Practice Behaviors Related to Oral and Pharyngeal Cancer Risk Assessment & Early Detection. The specific aims of the study are to:

  1. Update baseline information from a decade ago so that comparisons can be made to identify significant changes
  2. Examine decision-making behaviors ranging from detection of suspicious oral lesions and referral through follow-up and providing emotional support. This aspect is very unique in that examining decision-making has not been part of previous studies
  3. Determine the use of screening and diagnostic aids that have since become available for use in practice, another new aspect to help determine awareness and use of emerging science and technology
  4. Investigate the awareness and use of ADHA resources, such as the tobacco cessation program and continuing education courses. Again, another new aspect to help determine if dental hygienists are aware of resources they can be using with their patients.

To volunteer to participate in research conducted through the NCDHRP go to:


Educational programs for faculty members, clinicians and novice researchers are offered by Drs. Forrest and Spolarich and through the national/international conferences sponsored by the NCDHRP. Examples of programs include Exploring the Emerging Science about Oral Disease and Systemic Disorders; Resources for Managing Information to Improve Patient Care; Evidence-based Decision Making: New skills and concepts; and, Grant Writing for the Novice Researcher.

Eight training workshops are being offered at the 2nd North American Dental Hygiene Research Conference, Inspiration, Collaboration and Translation. For workshop descriptions and goals, please visit:

Dental Hygiene Conference Workshops

For additional information, contact:

Dr. Jane L Forrest, Director of the NCDHRP, jforrest@usc.edu
Dr. Ann E Spolarich, Associate Director, AnnEshSpo@aol.com