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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Feb 19, 2020

A Tale of Two Hygienists continues its series on how professionals have integrated oral health care with other medical practices in new and innovative ways by speaking with employees of a vital public health organization.


Both of this episode’s guests are hygienists based in Phoenix, Arizona and who work for Dignity Health, which is made up of over 60,000 caregivers across the United States and delivers a wide range of health care to a variety of communities. Laurie Clark is part of Dignity Health’s First Teeth First early childhood oral health initiative and Michelle Gross Panico is the manager of a community oral health department.


In this episode, Laurie and Michelle discuss why they came to work in public health, explain the unique and important role of promatoras, and hint at how Dignity Health will continue to expand in the future.





Interview starts: 14:39


- Laurie and Michelle explain how they developed their love for working in community health and started collaborating.


- What can public health offer you that private practice is unable to provide?


- Looking at just a few of the ways medical and dental services have been integrating throughout the country.


- How tobacco taxes are being funneled into childhood health services.


- Who are promatoras and how have they been helping services like Dignity Health?


- Laurie explains why she’s so impressed with the pediatricians she’s worked with.


- How does Dignity Health operate in the field?


- What are some of the larger challenges Laurie and Michelle face with Dignity Health?


- Michelle details how Dignity Health will continue with other healthcare offices in the future.





“I had to really step back and think about what I really liked about what I was doing.”


“When you can get the family together and get the parents involved, I think it makes a significant difference.”


“I can help you hit the mark that you need for the percentage that you’re working on with your health plan.”


“Finally, we’re seeing the day where preventative care is being incentivized!”


“The medical providers are happy that we have the time to spend with them to get them plugged into a dental home.”


“Partnership-building is so important, and it takes a lot of time!”



Laurie’s email:


Michelle’s email: 


Dignity Health -



Thank you to Paradise Dental Technologies aka PDT for providing sponsorship for this episode!


Be sure to thank the sponsor for this episode by heading over to and picking up a new instrument or telling them thank you in person at one of the conferences!


THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! - but read the disclaimer below as it might not count for your state.

Go here to take the test and get your CE Credit!


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