“Working with people with developmental disabilities transformed and expanded my views as an oral health professional.”
Early in her career as a dental hygienist, Christine Miller was given the unique opportunity of working simultaneously in private practice and in a public health setting. This exposed her to a wide variety of patients and provided her first experience working with patients with special needs.
"Working with people with developmental disabilities transformed and expanded my views as an oral health professional," Chris says. "It definitely shaped my future career path."
Now an associate professor of dental practice, Chris has been extensively involved in the advancement of various dental programs and services for persons with disabilities during her 25 years at the Dugoni School and is the co-founder of the Pacific Center for Special Care.
Chris has been instrumental in securing more than $4 million in grants for services, programs and equipment to improve access to oral health care for people with special needs throughout California. Accordingly, Chris, along with Dr. Paul Glassman, developed and implemented a comprehensive access model called the Community-based System for Dental Care for People with Disabilities. This program provides education, disease prevention curriculum, outreach education and the establishment of patient services through local clinics, private practices and hospital services.
"It's my goal to promote normal access to dental care services and prevention for people with special needs," Chris says. "Additionally, I think it's important that we allow our students the opportunities to work with patients with developmental disabilities. Everyone benefits when we give our students the opportunity to work with a broad spectrum of community members."
In addition to her teaching responsibilities at the dental school, Chris serves as director of community programs, where she formed the Student Community Outreach for Public Education or SCOPE program. She is an officer on the Special Care Dentistry Organization's board of directors and is former president of the Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities.
Chris is the recipient of the Pierre Fauchard Academy's Dental Faculty Recognition Award and is a fellow of the American College of Dentists. In 2002 , the American Dental Association recognized her student community service program, SCOPE, with the Quest for Excellence Award.
A graduate of University of Oregon with a bachelor's degree in science, Chris received a master's degree in health services from University of San Francisco and a master's degree in education from Pacific's Benerd School of Education.