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June 18, 2013

Founder of the ULM dental hygiene program Beverly Jarrell smiles on the future

Beverly Jarrell has taught at the University of Louisiana at Monroe for the past 40 years.

Her favorite spot on campus is Caldwell Hall, the building where she teaches and advises students of the dental hygiene program.

Jarrell is considered the program's founder.

"My father was a dentist," said Jarrell, describing her longtime interest in dentistry, which began as a child growing up in Martinsburg, Pa.

"I loved playing with plaster in his laboratory. I made small animals in plaster molds for his young patients."

The dental hygiene program at ULM was founded in 1972. Jarrell remembers the humble beginnings of the first clinic.

"We were able to purchase some very old clinic chairs and dental units from Loyola University in New Orleans, which helped us get our clinic up and running," she said.

"Fourteen young ladies made up our first dental hygiene class."

Today, the dental hygiene program offers 17 operatories, a mobile dental hygiene unit, five full-time hygienist faculty members, seven part-time dentists, and four part-time hygienists on staff.

"Our program has been accredited by the American Dental Association since its inception," said Jarrell, "and we have had excellent pass rates on our National Boards."

This past year, students of dental hygiene at ULM earned a 100 percent pass rate on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, reflecting the strength of the current program.

Jarrell has played a large part in its daily operations and in mentoring its students.

She said, "I teach a few courses each semester and have time for advising and assisting students who seek clinical remediation. I participate in recruitment and dental hygiene admissions, and I arrange continuing education for dental assistants, dentists, and staff."

To other instructors, she suggests, "Always care about your students and teach them in a positive learning environment. Be enthusiastic and motivate your students. Continue to keep abreast of the latest teaching methods and keep attending continuing education courses."

The best moment of her own career, however, came when DeltaStyle Magazine recognized her as a Health Care Hero in the category of education in 2012.

Jarrell particularly values "the honor given to me for this selection by the ULM administration."

Jarrell certainly deserves recognition.

College of Health Sciences Dean Dr. Denny Ryman said of her, "It has been estimated that over the years, Ms. Jarrell has trained 90 percent of all dental hygiene professionals currently practicing in north Louisiana."

"To my knowledge, there were only two hygienists in Monroe when our program started," said Jarrell.

"The dentists of the area were very anxious to have graduates who would be available to practice in their offices."

Ryman also said, "Ms. Jarrell continues to be the complete professional, in that she has high standards for her students, continues to offer continuing education for dental professionals, and is held in the highest regard by all that know her."

Now, Jarrell turns her attention not just to staffing the dentists' offices of Monroe, but to providing dental care to underprivileged communities across the country.

"A day may come when dental hygienists will be able to provide dental hygiene services in under-served areas with the indirect supervision of dentists," she said.

"There is so much need in so many parts of this country for children and adults who go without dental care or dental health education."

Jarrell obtained her R.D.H. certification in 1958, her Bachelor of Science in 1960, and her Master of Education in 1961, all from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa.

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