The Fones School of Dental Hygiene’s Class of 2020 achieved 100% pass rate on their Clinical practical board examination held at the University of Bridgeport on August 5 & 6, 2020. This exam was the first time the clinical board exam was a manikin exam; prior exams were patient clinical examinations. Forty-seven students sat for this examination.
“This class was faced with amazing obstacles this year due to COVID-19. Their live education ceased in March, making all clinical experiences and didactic courses to move completely online. Students would normally take this exam in April and instead waited until August. This exam is usually a live patient exam. The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) moved toward a manikin examination and our students were amongst the first to take the manikin exam in the USA. Perseverance, persistence, strength and probably a few tears brought much success to the Class of 2020. I am so proud of their accomplishments, and this is yet another milestone on their continued journey toward their professional career in dental hygiene. Their success continues the legacy and reputation of the first school of dental hygiene—Fones,” said Marion Manski, RDH, MS, Director and Associate Professor of Fones School of Dental Hygiene.
The concept of professional dental hygiene care was developed in the early part of the twentieth century. The term “dental hygiene” itself is attributed to Dr. Alfred Civilion Fones, a major creative force in the dental hygiene movement, and the founder of the Fones School of Dental Hygiene at the University of Bridgeport. The first dental hygiene school in the world, the Fones School proudly bears his name.
Dr. Alfred Civilion Fones, the father of dental hygiene, was a practicing dentist and Bridgeport native, recognizing the importance of routine preventative education and care. He trained his chairside assistant, Irene Newman, to perform prophylactic procedures on their patients. The results of the project were decidedly positive; patients had less decay and healthier gums. Fones wanted to demonstrate this success to others in the dental community and in 1913 opened the first dental hygiene school in the world, here in Bridgeport.
The school graduated three classes of women, many of whom were later employed by Bridgeport Public Schools. In 1916, Fones closed the school to allow himself the time to travel extensively throughout New England and beyond, lecturing to dental groups and presenting data to prove his theory and oral hygiene. Many schools were established due to his efforts. In 1949, thirty-three years after the first school closed, the Fones School of Dental Hygiene was re-opened at the University of Bridgeport as a result of efforts of the Connecticut Dental Association. The UB Program has achieved national and local recognition and respect of the dental profession, and continues to contribute multiple benefits to those it serves. Fones graduates students at the Associate, Baccalaureate and Masters levels and continues the proud legacy of Dr. Fones as the first dental hygiene program in the world.