The School of Dental Hygiene

two dental hygiene students in clinic

The School of Dental Hygiene is part of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

Located at the U of M Bannatyne Campus in the Dentistry building, the School of Dental Hygiene neighbours include the College's of Medicine, Pharmacy, Rehabilitation Sciences, as well as the Health Sciences Centre.

Our Mission

In a dynamic environment of excellence and progressive learning, the School of Dental Hygiene prepares future dental hygienists to enhance the health and well being of the public through oral health promotion, disease prevention and therapeutic means; and are active members of the global health care community.

Our Vision

The School of Dental Hygiene will serve to inspire and mentor students, faculty and the profession through dynamic role-modeling for continuous professional growth in a healthy and nurturing environment. We will be leaders and change agents in dental hygiene education and the profession. We envision dental hygienists as primary health care providers recognized as oral health experts in the discipline of dental hygiene operating within the larger health community. We will provide collaborative delivery models that will actively promote accessible evidence-based oral health care with the intent to improve the overall health of-the public.

History of the School of Dental Hygiene

In May, 1961, the Senate of the University of Manitoba adopted the following recommendation:

"That the establishment of a School of Dental Hygiene within the Faculty of Dentistry be approved in principle, but that its establishment should not prejudice the normal development and maintenance of existing faculties and schools in the University".

This recommendation was based on the favorable reception of the Paynter Report in 1956 which made recommendations to the provincial government for the establishment of a faculty of dentistry and school of dental hygiene.

In 1962 President Saunderson made a formal request to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, for financial support to enable the University to establish a School of Dental Hygiene. This request was approved, and in July of 1962 the Kellogg Foundation made a grant to the University of $50,000, payable over a four year period.

President Saunderso headshot
In November, 1962, Mrs. M.G.E. Forgay was appointed Acting Consultant in Dental Hygiene to develop the curriculum. The University Senate approved the proposed first year course of studies in February, 1963 and in September, 1963 the first class of 12 dental hygiene students was accepted. Mrs. M.G.E. Forgay, B.A., (Sask.), R.D.H. was appointed Acting Director of the School of Dental Hygiene, and Miss Dixie Scoles, B.Ed. (Ohio), R.D.H. was appointed as the first full-time academic in the School. The first class graduated in May of 1965.

The School has been awarded full accreditation status every instance the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada has surveyed the site. Survey site visits were made in 1965, 1971, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1993, 2000, and 2015.

The School of Dental Hygiene has always assumed a prominent role in dental hygiene education in North America. It was one of the first programs to adopt a competency based education system for dental hygiene clinical education, and faculty members from this School have served as consultants in many programs throughout the United States and Canada.

In addition, in cooperation with the federal government Working Group on the Practice of Dental Hygiene, the School held the first conference world-wide on dental hygiene research in 1982. It also co-hosted the first national professional conference in dental hygiene in 1990. Its founding Director, Professor Emerita Margery G. E. Forgay holds the first honorary Doctorate degree (Dalhousie University, 1994) ever to be received by a Canadian dental hygienist.

In the years since its inception in 1963 class sizes in dental hygiene have increased from 12 to 26, and a total of more than 685 graduates of the program have received the Diploma in Dental Hygiene.