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Communicable Disease Policy

Hepatitis B Vaccination

All health care providers should be immunized against the hepatitis B virus as well as childhood diseases. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are several types but the greatest risk to health care workers is Hepatitis B (HBV). Available since 1982, the Hepatitis B vaccine is considered safe and effective and is recommended for the prevention of HBV infection by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Additionally, the UAMS Dental Hygiene Clinic strictly adheres to and routinely practices the “Standard Precautions” against bloodborne pathogens enforced by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and recommended by the CDC.

Communicable Disease – Student Admission

Dental hygiene applicants are considered without regards to race, color, creed, age, marital status, national origin, disability, or gender. Otherwise qualified applicants with an active communicable disease, including sero-positivity for Hepatitis B (HBeAg) and/or HIV, receive equal consideration. Applicants should note, however, that the Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners’ Rule and Regulations mandate that a dental hygienist who is HBeAg seropositive or HIV seropositive must report this fact to the Board who may limit the type of procedures that the student may be able to perform. This potential restriction may preclude the dental hygiene student with an infectious disease from performing tasks/procedures essential to the completion of the requirements for graduation from the dental hygiene program.

Communicable Disease – Patient Treatment

Students in the dental hygiene program will provide treatment to patients after competency has been demonstrated. Faculty will provide direct supervision and consultation to oversee student and patient safety. To fully develop clinical skills, students must treat all scheduled patients. Treatment will be provided to all patients regardless of their race, color, sex, religion, national origin, handicap, or other human condition. If a student has a concern about treating a patient, the student should discuss this situation with the clinical supervisor. Refusal to treat patient may be cause for dismissal from the program.

Program information sessions are offered each year at the Department office. Please call the Department for more information.