In 1932, the National Dental Hygienists' Association (NDHA) was founded by African American Dental Hygienists' to address the special problems faced by the minority hygienist in the profession as well as unite the limited number of minority dental hygiene practitioners in the United States. It functioned for three years under founder Ernestine P. Gates of Missouri.
In the spring of 1962, Dr. James B Singleton, Dr. Eugenie Mobley and Barbara Ashby Robinson of Meharry Medical College contacted all of the African American Dental Hygienists' known to them and invited them to meet in Detroit, Michigan for the purpose of reactivating the organization. During the 1962 National Dental Association (NDA) convention, the NDHA reactivated and implemented a restructuring initiative designed to enhance the visibility of the association. In 1963 NDHA elected it first President; Barbara Ashley. The NDHA joined the NDA in holding concurrent annual conventions. While the NDHA and the NDA still hold their functions jointly, the NDHA functions as a autonomous organization. Today the NDHA is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization designed to improve the dental health of the public through education and service. The NDHA board is comprised of five officers and five trustees who are elected by the ever growing general membership body. NDHA is proud to have 6 component Organizations functioning as official affiliated professional organizations: Wolverine Dental Hygienists' Society (Detroit, MI) founded in 1972, TriState Dental Hygienists' Society (Philadelphia, PA) founded in 1995, African American Dental Hygienists' Association (Chicago, IL) founded __, City of Lights Dental Society (LasVegas, NV) founded 2005, Angel City Dental Hygiene Society (Los Angeles, CA) founded __, River City Dental Hygienists' Society (Jacksonville, FL) founded 2009 and Music City Dental Hygienist Association (Nashville, TN) founded 2011.
The NDHA is a non-profit 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. It is an organization for licensed minority dental hygienists who have graduated from accredited dental hygiene programs and minority dental hygiene students who are enrolled in accredited programs. The NDHA is committed to cultivating and promoting the art and science of dental hygiene. The members of NDHA are especially active in the efforts to enhance access to oral healthcare for the under-served communities. The NDHA aims to provide a professional foundation for students by serving as mentors as they transition from students to licensed dental hygienists.
- Promote the highest educational and ethical standards for dental hygienists.Create definite position statements on issues impacting the profession of dental hygiene.
- Enhance recruitment efforts for minority students' communities in need.
- Assist in the access to oral care for the under-served communities in the United States.
- Improve the Associations’ visibility via public service.
- Provide a professional foundation for Minority Dental Hygienists.
- Increase the number of Minority Dental Hygienists.
- Seek and encourage under-represented minorities to enter the profession of dental hygiene and give support to their endeavors.
- Cultivate and promote the art and science of dental hygiene.
- Provide an arena for the development and advancement of the dental hygiene profession.
- Maintain the highest professional standards and education of dental hygienists.
- Promote membership of under-represented minority dental hygienists into organized dental hygiene and encourage membership retention.
- Increase public awareness of the profession of dental hygiene.
- Enlighten and direct public opinions related to dental hygienist and the dental hygiene profession.
- Promote mutual improvement, social interaction and goodwill among its members.
- Disseminate dental health education information.
- Provide current, research based, dental hygiene academic and clinical information to its members.