Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Dental Hygiene








Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess dental hygienists’ interests, current involvement, formal education, views, comfort levels, and intentions for involvement with disaster preparedness and response.

Methods: Dental hygienists (n=400) were asked to respond to a 21-item online survey. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi-square goodness-of-fit tests, and a paired-samples t-test. Common themes were identified and categorized from open-ended questions.

Results: A response rate of 84% (n=334) was obtained. Most respondents (97%) reported no involvement with disaster preparedness and response; however, a majority (86%) reported interest. Of those who indicated an interest in disaster preparedness and response, 92% had intentions for becoming involved. A majority of dental hygienists (93%) had not received formal education in disaster preparedness and response; yet, 95% shared the view that dental hygienists could have a vital role in this specialty area. Although results indicated a mean difference of 9% increased comfort with activities not requiring physical contact with human remains, dental hygienists were relatively comfortable with activities requiring contact: taking photographs (76%, n=254), taking radiographs (83%, n=273), resecting the mandible (55%, n=184), cleaning skeletonized remains (67%, n=221).

Conclusion: Dental hygienists view themselves as professionals who could have a vital role in disaster preparedness and response. Efforts should be made to increase dental hygiene formal education in disaster preparedness and response with needed curriculum models and competencies for best outcomes when dental hygienists are serving their communities.


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Original Publication Citation

Bradshaw, B. T., Bruhn, A. P., Newcomb, T. L., Giles, B. D., & Simms, K. (2016). Disaster preparedness and response: A survey of U.S. dental hygienists. Journal of Dental Hygiene, 90(5), 313-322.


0000-0003-1512-6848 (Giles)