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American Dental Hygienists' Association and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. Unveil Honorees of Inaugural HYGIENIST HERO(TM) Recognition Program

Dental Hygienists Acknowledged for Educational Activities Beyond the Call

of Duty

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Dental Hygienists' Association and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., has announced the honorees of the inaugural HYGIENIST HERO(TM) Recognition Program designed to salute dental hygienists' outstanding commitment to promote oral hygiene in their local communities. The honorees were recognized at the opening ceremonies of the American Dental Hygienists' Association Annual Session June 18-25 in Albuquerque, N.M.

To be considered for the HYGIENIST HERO(TM) Recognition Program, dental hygienists submitted essays describing inspirational activities they have developed and led to enhance oral healthcare in their communities. Stories ranged from those who were motivated by the loss of a sick nephew who was uninsured, to one registered dental hygienist who set up a clinic to treat low income patients with limited or no insurance. Another honoree taught herself sign language to communicate proper oral care techniques to a local school for the deaf. All honorees' activities were self-funded.

This program is a joint partnership between American Dental Hygienists' Association and Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc.

"From improving access to professional oral care to educating on proper home oral care techniques in creative, awe-inspiring ways, these hygienists are truly helping to improve the oral health of America one mouth at a time," said ADHA President Jean Connor, RDH.

"Dental hygienists are the unsung heroes of oral care and they deserve recognition for playing a critical role in the oral health and, ultimately, the overall health of countless of Americans inside and outside the dental office," said Ellen Guritzky RDH,BS, Product Director, Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. "Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. is committed to supporting this program that honors the tireless efforts of dental hygienists who truly go beyond the call of duty to help improve oral care for those who need it most."

Dental hygienists educate on the "front-lines" of dental care as they are often the first and last professional to speak with patients about the importance of preventative oral care and the essentials of a complete daily oral care regimen including brushing, flossing and rinsing.

Nine honorees were selected by members of the ADHA's Council on Public Health. In addition to being honored at the ADHA's Annual Session, honorees will receive special recognition in their local communities. HYGIENIST HERO(TM) honorees will identify a health-oriented charity of choice to receive a $1,000 donation that will be made in the honoree's name.

The 2008 HYGIENIST HERO(TM) Honorees are:

Carrol M. Shuttle Bains, RD, Bristol, TN

For three years, Carrol has volunteered at Healing Hands, providing outstanding dental hygiene care -- at no cost -- to uninsured area residents. During that time, she has improved the oral health for individuals whose life circumstances have ranged from abusive relationships to financial misfortune. Carrol has truly touched the lives of hundreds of people, and doesn't think twice about her caring efforts, saying that she is "just a person trying to give back to the community."

Karen Essell, RDH, BSDH, Ann Arbor, MI

Nearly one full year of research and legislative correspondence spearheaded by Karen led to the passage of Public Act 161, allowing dental hygienists to perform preventive interventions in Michigan schools. Also referred to as "Smiles for a Lifetime," this act opened the doors for Karen to serve underprivileged children at her local Head Start center. She provides oral hygiene education and fluoride varnish applications -- to name just a few areas -- to all Head Start children in their classrooms at no charge.

Erika B. Feltham, RDH, Fallbrook, CA

Erika's passionate nature, combined with her volunteer efforts, have helped underprivileged communities blossom. For almost 20 years, Erika has raised oral health, nutrition, and preventive dental awareness at hundreds of daycare, kindergarten, and nursing retirement facilities. She has instilled the benefits of proper oral health through dental screenings, illustrating proper oral hygiene techniques, providing educational/fun oral healthcare packets, and leading interactive projects.

Michelle A. Frushour, RDH, Hagerstown, MD

Michelle's dedication to teaching children early preventive methods has inspired and guided many. This motivated woman taught herself American Sign Language in order to volunteer her time with hearing-impaired children, teaching them the benefits behind developing a good oral health routine. Michelle also volunteers her time participating in "Sealant Saturday" efforts, where she engages in public awareness efforts aimed at bringing free oral exams, sealants, and dental health education to children in need.

Theresa M. Granatella, RDH, Delray Beach, FL: When her nephew, to whom she always provided dental care, unexpectedly passed away, Theresa set up her own dental clinic in 2002 as a way to continue helping others without insurance. She continues to this day, also volunteering her time at the Mission Medical Center, a non-profit organization serving low-income patients without healthcare coverage.

Donna Marie Grzegorek, RDH, EC, Algonquin, IL: Nothing says oral healthcare commitment like striving to get the benefits of flossing noted in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2001, Donna did just that, spearheading a successful effort to get 297 teenagers on a 1500-foot, single strand of custom-made floss. The Guinness Book of World Records established "The Most People Dental Flossing Simultaneously on One Single Strand of Dental Floss" as the first dental flossing record of its kind. Donna also volunteers her time educating young children about dental health, and talks to many others about the importance of oral cancer screenings.

Leslie Kahn, RDH. Roslyn, NY: Leslie's dedication to spreading the word about oral care is perhaps most evident in the disk and interactive coloring book she personally created, "My Dentist Makes Me Smile," designed to introduce children to the dental environment. Leslie also volunteers her time as a lecturer, outlining the benefits of a proper oral health routine to underprivileged children and teenagers, as well as those with special needs.

Patricia Michelle Vacha, RDH, BS, Colorado Springs, CO: The growing elderly population is where Patricia focuses her volunteer efforts, tirelessly providing dental cleanings, oral evaluations, and fluoride treatments to nursing home residents. She works closely with each patient, bringing mobile dental equipment to each nursing home. Patricia's mission to help an often overlooked population has sparked much appreciation and interest in her community.

Emma Violante, RDH, Glendale, AZ: Emma has literally taken her passion for oral health to the streets, getting its message out with parade floats and at festival booths. Additionally, she has spoken at various Head Start programs and other schools in an effort to raise dental education awareness. Emma has also volunteered her time raising money to build the St. Vincent de Paul Free Medical/Dental Clinic, where she provides dental hygiene treatment for the uninsured.

For more information about the HYGIENIST HERO(TM) Recognition Program, please visit or

American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA)

ADHA is the largest national organization representing the professional interests of more than 156,000 dental hygienists across the country. Dental hygienists are preventive oral health professionals, licensed in dental hygiene, who provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services that support total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. For more information about ADHA, dental hygiene or the link between oral health and general health, visit ADHA at

Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc

Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. is a leader in the consumer oral health and whitening market with LISTERINE(R) Antiseptic Mouthwash, LISTERINE(R) WHITENING(R) Quick Dissolving Strips, LISTERINE(R) WHITENING(R) Pre-Brush Rinse, LISTERINE(R) SMART RINSE(TM), REACH(R) toothbrushes, REACH(R) floss, and REMBRANDT(R) tooth whitening products.


Steve Schonberg Kristina Chang

Edelman Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products

(212) 704-4494 Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. (973) 385-4370

SOURCE Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division ofMcNEIL-PPC, Inc.
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