Marion Manski, M.S., R.D.H., will serve as director of the Dental Hygiene program at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry beginning October 17. The program is one of two B.S. in Dental Hygiene degree programs in Virginia, and the only one housed in a dental school.

Marion Manski

Manski joins VCU from the University of Bridgeport Fones School of Dental Hygiene, where she has served as director since 2019. Prior to that, she was director of the Dental Hygiene program at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry from 2012-2018. She has more than 30 years of clinical and academic experience in dental hygiene.

“Ms. Manski has the vision and experience to propel our Dental Hygiene program forward and contribute greatly to our work around increasing access to oral health care for all Virginians,” said Lyndon Cooper, D.D.S., Ph.D., dean of VCU School of Dentistry. “She will lead a strong team of faculty in our Dental Hygiene program, of whom I’m especially thankful to Ms. Tammy Swecker for serving as interim director since May 2021. Much has been accomplished under her leadership, and I know she will continue to be a vital component of the program’s success.”

“Through professional connections at VCU and my work in the Mid-Atlantic region, I’m aware of the great reputation of VCU’s Dental Hygiene program and I am excited to be a part of it,” said Manski. “I’m eager to take advantage of all of the opportunities for interprofessional collaboration, not only between the dental and dental hygiene programs, but also with other medical professions throughout VCU Health and the VCU Health Sciences schools.”

Manski is a proponent of interprofessional collaboration to address health disparities and improve access to care. She has focused much of her efforts on addressing early childhood caries, which is the most prevalent public health issue for children and the leading cause of missed school. Notably, she was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to serve on the Maryland Commission for Women, where she helped advise the executive and legislative branches of government on issues of concern to women and girls in Maryland. Serving as president and legislative chair for the Maryland Dental Hygienists’ Association and legislative chair and trustee for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, Connecticut, she has played an important role in increasing the scope of practice for dental hygienists in both states.

An avid lifelong-learner, Manski stresses the importance of continued education and has taught numerous courses on administering anesthesia. She even helped develop a prototype anesthesia block, a training device that helps better simulate anesthesia injections in the jaw, which she and a colleague recently presented at meetings of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the International Dental Hygiene Educators’ Forum (IDHEF). An active member of the ADHA, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and several other state, national and international professional associations, she was recently appointed chair-elect of ADEA’s Council of Allied Dental Program Directors.

“The economic and social changes over the last several years have shown a spotlight on the important role that dental hygienists play in the delivery of oral health care,” says Manski. “I’m looking forward to working with my future colleagues at VCU to build on the success of the Dental Hygiene program, expand academic offerings, support the professional development of faculty and engage in creative and collaborative ways to both educate and provide care to communities in need throughout Virginia.”

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