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February 10, 2012

ULM's Jarrell named Health Care Hero

Smiles are said to be contagious, and thanks to the University of Louisiana at Monroe's Beverly Jarrell, countless individuals in the Louisiana Delta have more reason to show them.

Jarrell, ULM's Dental Hygiene Department head and program director, has dedicated four decades of service and tireless energy to promoting and ensuring excellent oral health in the region, and she was recently recognized as a Health Care Hero by DeltaStyle Magazine for her devotion.

"She had an incredible nomination and has done so many things for the community; I don't think our judges had a hard time recognizing her as the Health Care Hero in the category of educator because of her outstanding work in the health care industry, the level of her involvement, and her philanthropy outside of the school," said DeltaStyle Magazine Editor Cassie Livingston.

In 1972, recognizing the need for more dental hygienists to provide improved oral health care in rural communities in northeast Louisiana, Jarrell developed and implemented the Dental Hygiene Program at ULM.

She has taught more than 800 dental hygiene professionals, and through the department's continuing education program, numerous other dental health professionals have benefited from her wisdom and experience.

Jarrell's impact on health care in the region can be seen in the services provided by ULM Dental Hygiene students and faculty through clinical rotations at the ULM Dental Hygiene Clinic located in Caldwell Hall; Riser School Dental Hygiene Clinic in West Monroe; the Overton Brooks Veteran's Hospital in Shreveport; and formerly at the Ouachita Parish Health Unit.

Since 2010, children and adults in Ouachita, Morehouse and East Carroll parishes have received dental hygiene care provided by the ULM Mobile Dental Hygiene Unit.

"There is not a dental hygienist in the area that has not been touched by Mrs. Jarrell," said Dean of the College of Health Sciences Denny Ryman.

"Her leadership has led to improved access to oral healthcare in northeast Louisiana, an area of definite need. As the only dental hygiene program in north Louisiana that offers the B.S. degree, the dental community considers Mrs. Jarrell to be the consummate professional."

Ryman recounted an incident - but not an isolated one - from several years past that demonstrated the impact of the dental hygiene program under Jarrell's leadership.

"After having his teeth cleaned (possibly for the first time in his life), a child was given a toothbrush and toothpaste," Ryman said. "He looked at them and remarked with great awe, 'I got one of these in my Halloween bag one year!' A toothbrush and toothpaste that most people take for granted in their daily lives - this child (and many others like him) saw them as treasured prizes."

More about Jarrell's dedicated career:

Jarrell's commitment to others has extended beyond the university both professionally and personally.

At the professional level, she has served on the National Nominating Committee for Sigma Phi Alpha, the Dental Hygiene Honor Society, and as president of the Iota Chapter of Sigma Phi Alpha since 1974. She is a member of the Alpha Eta Society, an organization devoted to scholarship in Allied Health.

At the university level, she is a member of the Quarter Century Club and has served on multiple university committees, such as faculty advisor to the pre-physical therapy association and curriculum committee, graduate council, faculty senate, School of Nursing Advisory Council, Occupational Therapy Academic Standards Committee, Allied Health Promotion and Tenure Committees, and the College of Health Sciences Radiation Safety Committee.

In the community, she serves on the board of the Monroe Rotary Club and is a member of the Junior League and Grace Episcopal School Board. She also sings in the Grace Episcopal Church Choir.

Jarrell was named by ULM as an "Outstanding Teacher in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences." She received an "Accent on Excellence" award from CenturyTel on behalf of the ULM Dental Hygiene Clinic.

More about dental hygiene health:

The National Institute of Health recognizes that good oral health is an essential and integral component for a healthy life.

Oral health can be indicative of systemic health. In addition to cavities, toothaches and crooked or stained teeth, different diseases such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, and some eating disorders can cause oral health problems.

Prevention and early intervention can help improve oral and systemic health and quality of life.

For children, improved oral and systemic health can lead to academic success. For adults, gains are found through work force development and fewer sick days.

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