Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Association

Your Voice. Your Profession. Your Future.


Your Profession

IDHA is the Voice of ALL Dental Hygienists in Illinois.


Your Future

Membership in IDHA gives you a professional home to grow and advance your career.



Continuing education opens the door for new roles, jobs, and opportunities in Dental Hygiene.



Your Profession, IDHA supports and protects the career and practice of Dental Hygiene Professionals in Illinois.



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Please visit the Bill Update Page for Updates


Dear IDHA Members, RDH Potential IDHA Members, Student DH, and HB5948 Supporters,

IDHA was successful in passing HB5948 and Amendments last Friday in the Senate 53 yes and NO opposition. On Tuesday, May 31st, HB5948 the House of Representatives passed it, 117 yes to -0- opposition!  We are VERY excited this trailer bill to HB500 PASSED to improve and enhance the details and reduce the additional educational requirements for the Public Health Dental Hygienist (PHDH) category in IL and to clarify and tighten the language for dental assistants providing supragingival scaling.   This will become law once it is signed by the Governor.  The most significant aspect of HB500 and HB5948 is allowing the PHDH to see patients, who are Medicaid eligible or uninsured and do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, WITHOUT FIRST HAVING A PRIOR EXAM BY A DENTIST.  The PHDH requirements include having a collaborative written agreement with a dentist who is registered as a Medicaid provider or is engaged, contracted or employed in a public  health facility or those other settings as described in the HB500.  The passing of HB5948 on Tuesday literally came down to only a few hours being left for it to pass while the House was still in sessioin on its last scheduled day, or we would have needed to begin the process all over again.  Our bill sponsor, Representative Michael Zalewski was very instrumental in facilitating the negotiation process with Senator Haine and the Illinois State Dental Society, and closely following the bill through the legislative process.  We also greatly appreciate our two lobbyists, Jan Starr and John Cusick, who worked side-by-side with us every step along the way.  We appreciate the efforts of our lobbyists who represent our concerns to the many legislators around the state, and continue to monitor all legislation that may impact or affect the profession of dental hygiene.  Their role is an extremely important one to IDHA year round even when not lobbying a bill on our behalf.

This initiative took much time, effort, and the help of many RDH and friends of HB5948 to get it passed.  It is the culmination of many years of effort.  So, as we celebrate this HUGE legislative success, we need each of you to take the time to call your legislators in both the House and in the Senate and say, THANK YOU for VOTING YES AND PASSING HB5948!!!  Without their vote of ‘yes’  the direct access to services provided by a PHDH would not be possible.

Please call you legislators in the House and in the Senate.   This 5 year pilot (created by HB500) will help demonstrate to law makers that Registered Dental Hygienists are a major part of the solution to increasing the direct access to oral health care services in Illinois!  We know many of you have questions as to how you can get out there and begin putting this new law into practice.  Please watch our website over the next few weeks as we begin posting information.  In the meantime, please go to www.il.gov and thoroughly read HB500 and HB5948 for the specifics and the requirements needed for a RDH to be called a Public Health Dental Hygienist (PHDH), to find out all of the settings in which a PHDH may practice, and watch the website for educaational courses as we see them become available.

 Again, IDHA sincerely appreciates every phone call made, e-mail sent, and legislator visited to help make the passage of HB5948 be a success!  Please call your legislators at your earliest availability to say thank you.


Kimberly K. Benkert, RDH, BSDH, MPH, COM, FAADH

IDHA Legislation Chair

IDHA Past President

ADHA Past President


Gaylene Baker head shot

Keep Moving Forward

I am so honored and humbled to be serving as the President of the Illinois Dental Hygienists’ Association. It is my goal to utilize this time to serve all RDH in Illinois and continue to keep our profession moving forward. It has been a whirlwind since being sworn in on November 15, 2015 at the Heartland Dental corporate facility in Effingham, IL during the IDHA Annual Session. The 2015 IDHA Annual Session was filled with amazing CE speakers, vendor sponsorship, student fun, HY-PAC fundraising event, and a President’s reception celebrating the year of service Sherri Lukes provided IDHA. The entire weekend moved smoothly and at record speed. The IDHA House of Delegates unanimously passed a resolution that advocates for the expansion of appropriate dental hygiene diagnostic and treatment codes.  The delegates from Illinois to the ADHA annual session will present it to the District VIII trustee, Lisa Moravec, for consideration at the 2016 ADHA annual session in Pittsburgh. With the expanding scope of practice for Dental Hygienists’, it was determined that codes that more accurately identify levels of treatment are necessary. What a great way to keep moving forward!

Historically, dental hygiene was created as a distinct profession positioned in dental public health. Wide access to preventive care provided by educated dental hygiene professionals was the incentive leading Dr. Alfred C. Fones to educate the first dental hygienist, Irene Newman. Since the profession began, prevention, public health, and improving access to care remain at the core of dental hygiene. Now IDHA gets to celebrate the passage of HB500 legislation allowing direct access to oral healthcare services provided by a registered dental hygienist in public health settings!  Illinois has become th38th state to have increased Access to Care. This came as a result of many hours of work and negotiation.

Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH), after meeting requirements outlined in the statute, will be able to provide oral health and preventive services, in select public health settings, without the requirement of an exam first by a dentist.  With a written collaborative agreement, the RDH will refer to the collaborating dentist for a full dental exam. This legislation creates a Public Health Dental Hygienist position in Illinois and increases the opportunity for the public to go directly to the hygienist for services.   Settings include public health department clinics, Community Health Centers and FQHC’s, school-based programs, and other public health settings.

What starts here can change and continue to change the profession of Dental Hygiene here in Illinois and other states as well. There are around 8500 RDH in Illinois. Each one of us has the ability to change the life of someone who can go on to change the life of someone else. It is an impact that multiplies over time. Imagine the impact the RDH in Illinois can have when we all work together? Let me tell you it would be a force to reckon with. Change can begin with anyone and happen anywhere. IDHA needs and wants you ALL to be a part of our organization. Do you have ideas on how to move our profession forward? Do you have a specific talent you would like to donate to IDHA? Is there a committee you would like to volunteer to be a part of? We are better together and IDHA needs you ALL to be involved to continue increasing the dental hygiene scope of practice in Illinois and to keep moving forward!

I look forward to hearing from you.


Gaylene V. Baker, RDH, BSDH, MBA

IDHA President


IDHA – Your Voice; Your Future; Your Profession.

“One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantages” John C. Maxwell


About IDHA


The Purpose of this Association shall be to improve the oral health of the public; to maintain the highest standards of dental hygiene ethics, education, and practice; to represent and protect the interests of the dental hygiene profession; to ensure professional competence of the dental hygienist; to promote research in oral health; to provide professional communications, and to conduct other activities to advance the art and science of dental hygiene.


To improve the public’s total health, to advance the art and science of dental hygiene by ensuring access to quality oral health care, increases the awareness of the cost-effective benefits of prevention, promote the highest standards of dental hygiene education, licensure, practice, and research, and represent and promote the interests of dental hygienists.

Dental Hygiene Oath

In my practice as a dental hygienist,
I affirm my personal and professional commitment to
Improve the oral health of the public,
To advance the art and science of quality care.

I pledge continually to improve my professional knowledge
And skills, to render a full measure of service to each
Patient entrusted to my care
And to uphold the highest standards of professional
Competence and the personal conduct in the interests of the
Dental hygiene profession and the public it serves.

Executive Council


We would like to invite you to join ADHA – the only association dedicated to protecting and promoting your profession. In these times of change you need something to count on, and ADHA is your advocate for professional advancement.

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IDHA Components

Component 1 North Suburban Lisa Schmidt, RDH, BA nsdhs.org facebookicon
Component 2 West Suburban Jeanne Bosecker, RDH wsdhs.org facebookicon
Component 3 Winnebago  Tracy McConnell, RDH facebookicon
Component 4 South Suburban Carole Danielson, RDH, MPH facebookicon
Component 6 Chicago Christy Veihdeffer, RDH, BS ChicagoHygiene.com facebookicon
Component 8 Peoria Area
Component 9 Illini Laura Hettinger, RDH
Component 10 Springfield Sara Huelsmann, RDH
Component 11 McHenry Patrice Hugo, RDH mchds.net
Component 12 Southern Illinois Jennifer Sherry, RDH, MSEd facebookicon
Component 16 Fox Valley Christine Bethel, RDH fvdhs.org facebookicon
Component 17 Lake Country Terri Browne, RDH lcdhs.org facebookicon
Component 18 RiverBend Cathy Pierce, RDH rbdhs.org

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