USC student selected for national dentistry board

The president of the American Dental Hygiene Association has handpicked a USC senior, along with three other students from the nation, to serve on the ADHA student advisory board.

Smile wide · Senior Joan Beleno was selected by the president of the American Dental Hygiene Association to serve on the advisory board. - Photo courtesy of USC News

Joan Beleno, a senior majoring in dental hygiene at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, was selected because of her leadership skills and passion for ensuring patient health, said Diane Melrose, chair of the dental hygiene program at USC.

“Joan works very hard, is genuine, honest and an amazing person,” Melrose said. “Her overall character and great communication skills with individuals make her a great leader. She really wants to see our profession excel and has a real dedication to having our profession be the best.”

ADHA serves as a professional organization and the governing body for American dental hygienists, aimed at maintaining the livelihood of the profession.

Students are able to use ADHA as a connection to what is going on in the field of dentistry, what they need to know about the profession and what they need to do after graduating, Beleno said.

“The student advisory board is a group of four people from the whole nation who are the eyes and ears for the ADHA’s Committee on Student Relations,” Beleno said. “We are who the Student Relations Committee goes to and asks about student interests and concerns — we are the middlemen between the current students and ADHA.”

Beleno said she is happy to be on the ADHA board because she is able to represent USC.

“I’m really honored because I know that it is not every day that someone is able to work on the board,” Beleno said. “Being on the student advisory board also helps people know that USC has a great dentistry program and I’m looking forward to seeing the background of our profession and bringing different insights to USC.”

Beleno graduated from UC Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in applied ecology before USC. She decided to go to USC because of the strength of the program at the School of Dentistry.

“I have always been on the dental track and dental hygiene has a lot to offer, with relationships with patients as well as working in the healthcare field,” Beleno said. “After being appointed a month ago, I’m excited to get everything situated, and hopefully this will encourage others to get involved in their legislation and with student programs so that they are aware with everything that is going on with dental hygiene.”

Members of the board meet for monthly or bimonthly conference calls to discuss upcoming issues and concerns.

Each year,  a national conference is held and the student advisory board is responsible for helping to plan the student portion of the national conference. The board also gathers guest speakers and conducts student activities.

Along with serving on the student advisory board, Beleno is president of the Student American Dental Hygiene Association at USC.

This year, Beleno participated in a table clinic/research poster session and presented at the National Dental Hygiene conference in Las Vegas. She also actively engages in community service and volunteers at AYUDA Dental Clinic offering dental treatment to children.

In the future, Beleno hopes to work in the L.A. area as a dental hygienist.