Lisa Rowley was honored for lifetime achievement by the American Dental Hygienists' Association.

Lisa RowleyPacific University announced recently that the founder and director of its School of Dental Hygiene Studies has received one of the highest honors from a national association of hygienists.

The American Dental Hygienists' Association bestowed its Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene on Lisa Rowley at its annual conference in June.

The award recognizes lifetime achievement, honoring leadership, involvement with the association, and "outstanding accomplishments that have an impact on the practice and future of the dental hygiene profession," according to the ADHA.

"Lisa has been masterful in garnering the philanthropic support of industry leaders in Washington County with a similar commitment to public health dentistry," wrote Ann Barr-Gillespie, executive dean and vice provost of the College of Health Professions at Pacific University, in a column hailing Rowley's achievements. "As director, she has overseen the education of more than 300 future dental hygiene practitioners, directly mentoring many who have gone on to distinguish themselves in leadership and advocacy roles here in Oregon and nationally. In addition to serving as a dental hygiene program director at two academic institutions, Lisa has a distinguished record of healthcare advocacy and service to her profession."

Rowley was one of two people to receive the national award this year. Christine Farrell, who serves as the oral health director for the Michigan Department of Community Health, was the other recipient of the Award for Excellence in Dental Hygiene.

The award comes with prizes including a $2,500 cash award and all expenses paid for the annual conference, which was held this year in Columbus, Ohio.

Rowley previously received an award in November from the Oregon Dental Hygienists' Association, the Lynn Ironside Access to Care Award.

In a statement, Rowley thanked Pacific.

"I am grateful to Pacific University for providing me with the opportunity to design a dental hygiene program that truly reflects the future of the dental hygiene profession," she said.

Rowley developed the bachelor's degree program as a consultant, then officially joined Pacific as the School of Dental Hygiene Studies' first director in 2005.

After some 13 years, Rowley will be stepping back as director shortly after the start of the fall semester.

Effective Aug. 31, Pacific announced, clinical education coordinator Gail Aamodt will take over as interim director. Rowley is expected to "transition to a faculty position in the school, where she will continue to assist in the preparation of the school's next accreditation self-study and other special projects," according to the announcement.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to have Lisa as a member of the College of Health Professions leadership team," Barr-Gillespie stated. "She is a true public health advocate, and I owe her a debt of gratitude for tirelessly making others aware of the importance of including oral healthcare in primary healthcare. I know this was a difficult decision for her, and I am deeply grateful that she will continue to work with us in her new role."

Barr-Gillespie added that Pacific has already formed a search committee to find a permanent successor for Rowley as director of the School of Dental Hygiene Studies.

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