Skriver wins ADHA Sigma Phi Alpha Journalism Award for research writing

Headshot of Rosemary Skriver on a branded background

Rosemary Skriver, BDSH ’22, MDT ’23, received the American Dental Hygienists Association’s 2023 Sigma Phi Alpha Undergraduate Journalism Award for her research on providers’ knowledge and attitudes toward patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Skriver is the first dental therapy student to receive a national award for her writing. 

Skriver has long held a passion for oral health, valuing its combination of creative and analytical thinking. “As a dental therapist, I get to combine my interests in science and art to help improve the oral health of the populations I serve,” she explained.

Moreover, working with rural and underserved patients speaks to Skriver, who grew up in rural Iowa and gained experience volunteering in safety net clinics. 

As part of her hygiene curriculum, students are assigned a literature review that focuses on a medical condition and its impact on dental health, and encouraged to submit those reviews for a chance at the Division of Dental Hygiene’s Top Paper Writing Award. 

In her second year, Skriver chose to write her paper on Alzheimer’s Disease. “I did not know much about how the disease may impact a person’s oral health and wanted to learn more,” she said. 

Skriver’s review won the 2022 Writing Award, and her faculty encouraged her to expand her review into a study, and pursue publication and the Sigma Phi Alpha award. Though she was nervous, she took on the challenge to pursue research with the help of her advisor, Michelle Arnett, RDH, MS, BS, assistant professor of dental hygiene.

“I chose to conduct original research investigating the level of knowledge and attitudes of dental, allied oral health, and nursing students on patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” Skriver said. “I believe that age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease have an important impact on the healthcare system, and that my research has shed light on the topic and reinforced the need for integration and collaboration between healthcare professional students.” 

Her original research earned Skriver the Sigma Phi Alpha Journalism Award, which recognizes an outstanding manuscript from an undergraduate and graduate student in dental hygiene each year. In addition, Skriver has the opportunity to publish her paper, “Knowledge and Attitudes of Undergraduate Dental, Allied Oral Health and Nursing Students Towards Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease,” in the Journal of Dental Education pending submission and review.

Skriver has thrilled to receive the national award. “The biggest emotion I felt was an overwhelming sense of pride,” she said. “I worked hard to make this research the best it could be, and it felt great to have others recognize the work I put in. I was proud to represent the University of Minnesota as a graduate of their dental hygiene and dental therapy programs.” 

In addition, Skriver is excited about the possibility of publishing her research, and the impact she can have on the field.

“I believe this topic is important, and that my findings provide insight into areas within the healthcare education system that may improve health outcomes for patients with Alzheimer’s Disease,” she said. “There is still work that needs to be done, and I believe my research provides a launching point for continued investigation.” 

And as a dental therapy student pursuing research, Skriver is excited to be an example for others of what can be. 

“I am excited to represent the profession of dental therapy in the world of research,” she said. “I think it shows that dental therapists are not only improving society’s oral health through clinical practice, but also through our involvement in research.”