Roane State students learn how laws impact practice of dental hygiene

By Bob Fowler, Roane State staff writer

Shortly before they graduated, Roane State’s dental hygiene class of 2022 attended a meeting to learn how the legislative process can affect their chosen professions.

The students attended the Legislative Breakfast with lawmakers including U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, state Reps. Justin Lafferty and Bob Ramsey, and state Sen. Richard Briggs. Dr. Briggs is a surgeon and Dr. Ramsey is a dentist. All the lawmakers are Republicans and represent areas of East Tennessee.

Melinda Gill, director of the community college’s Dental Hygiene program, said lawmakers discussed an approved legislative amendment that allows live, interactive webinars to be considered in-person continuing education.

“This became an issue during the initial COVID year when there were no live continuing education hours being offered,” Gill explained.

“We also discussed why a bill was withdrawn for consideration due to the language within it not being clear on what TNDHA (Tennessee Dental Hygienists’ Association) intended,” she said.

“New language is being discussed so that this bill can be presented again in the next legislative calendar year.”

The event “was a wonderful opportunity for the students to see the importance of being an advocate for the practice of dental hygiene and the services that dental hygienists are allowed to provide,” Gill said.

For information on Roane State’s dental hygiene program, visit

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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