Famous or Infamous

By Adriana Barcena, Assistant Program Manager

Dental Famous or Infamous

Irene Newman: Ms. Newman was the first woman dental hygienist in the United States. In the early 1900s, Ms. Newman worked under Dr. Alfred Fones in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At the time, regular dental work and prevention were unheard of and considered nonsensical. Ms. Newman nonetheless worked with Dr. Fones cleaning teeth and providing and teaching preventative dental care to the public. In 1913, Dr. Fones would go on to establish the Fones School of Dental Hygiene at the University of Bridgeport, where Ms. Newman and Dr. Fones would teach individuals how to complete dental hygiene tasks that are still practiced to this day. Because of their teachings, death rates significantly decreased in large cities during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. Ms. Newman was the first person issued a dental hygiene license and served as the president of the first dental hygiene association, the Connecticut Dental Hygienist Association.