Congratulations Ashley Delgado, the newest graduate from the Dental Hygiene program, for successfully defending your dissertation on the “Professional Caregivers Oral Care Practices and
Beliefs for Elderly Clients Aging in Place!”
Please tell me about yourself, why you picked UT Health Science Center, and your program.
I received my Bachelor of Science degree in
Dental Hygiene from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas in 2010. Clinically, I practiced dental hygiene in Periodontal and General
Dentistry offices for five years. I am a strong advocate for educating the community, and this led me to work with Miles of Smiles, which provides services to school districts within the city of San Antonio.
I am currently a member of American Dental Hygiene Association and the San Antonio District Dental Hygientist Society. I enjoy traveling with my husband and
trying out different restaurants. I try to stay active with hikes and bike rides on my free time. I chose to attend UTHSCSA for the school’s
work in promoting health awareness and trying to improve the wellness of the
San Antonio community.
Please provide a few sentences summarizing your dissertation.
What was the experience like for you?
This study provided preliminary information
on professional caregivers, serving those aging in place, and how they want more
oral care training to improve the oral health of their elderly clients. Doing a thesis is a hard but exhilarating
process. I not only learned how to become a better researcher and educator, but
I also learned a lot about myself and the willpower that I have.
Why are you passionate about your research
topic? How did you first become interested in it?
In 2007, my great-grandmother was ill and
had a caregiver come visit her a few times a week. I happened to be there during
one of these visits and noticed the caregiver did not look in my grandmother’s
mouth. When I asked the caregiver why, she stated it was not her job. That
fueled my fire and got me wondering, why was it not her job, and whose job was
it? This is why I chose my topic– to understand
the priority that caregivers place on oral care for elderly clients.
What was your best memory during graduate school
or what did you learn?
I really enjoyed taking clinical practicum.
I enjoyed helping the students in clinic and learning how to become a better
I plan to stay on as a clinical instructor
in the dental hygiene department to learn and grow professionally.