Above: New DISIPC certificants (from left) Tonja Bowcut, Daren Huey and Gaylene Baker.
Infection control knowledge is vital for dental assistants, hygienists, and dentists. But it’s highly valuable for other professionals in the dental industry, too — even those who aren’t directly providing care to patients.
The Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) developed a new certification just for that purpose. In June, the two organizations officially launched the Dental Industry Specialist in Infection Prevention and Control (DISIPC) certification for dental sales and practice management professionals.
Tonja Bowcut, CDA, CDIPC, DISIPC, was among the first group of certificants announced on April 1, 2022. She says she “jumped at the chance” to earn the new certification.
“There’s so much information that comes from so many different sources,” says Bowcut, who is the dental assisting director at the College of Southern Idaho. “It’s nice to know that there’s one place where dental offices and staff are all going to get the same information.”
Setting sales representatives apart
Fellow certificant Gaylene Baker, DISIPC, is a national sales manager for Monarch by Air Techniques, an infection control and prevention product brand. She feels that having extensive infection control knowledge helps her understand the policies and procedures dental offices adhere to. As a result, she can better establish credibility with practices and answer questions they have about products.
“Clinicians often feel that sales representatives who are selling certain product lines have a really deep understanding of not just the product they’re selling, but of what they do as a clinician. That’s not necessarily the case,” says Baker. “This certification will really help to set sales representatives apart and put them into a whole new category.”
Daren Huey, DISIPC, agrees. As a territory sales manager for Patterson Dental — a dental and medical supplies company — he believes DISIPC certification has given him a competitive advantage over other sales representatives in the industry.
“I thought it was important from the get-go because it was drilled into me how important infection prevention and control was,” says Huey. “When COVID hit, it just became more important. I was getting calls from dental offices every day that were struggling, trying to keep up with what they should be doing.”
When Huey told customers he was working toward the DISIPC certification, it helped him establish better rapport and earn new clients. He has also received positive feedback from colleagues and clients after adding the new certification to his business cards and sharing his digital badge on social media.
“With everything on a doctor’s plate, it can be hard for them to keep up with infection control protocols,” says Huey. “They really appreciate that I was taking that extra step to help them out.”
Baker echoes a similar sentiment.
“You can go into an office and say, ‘I have this certification. I know my product line, but I also have a deeper understanding of infection control in a dental facility,’” says Baker.
Bowcut feels the new certification helps not only sales professionals, but also the technicians who service dental equipment and marketing professionals who advertise it.
“Infection control is one of the foundational things within a dental office,” she explains. “I just feel like we all need to be on the same page there.”
Bowcut encourages others to pursue the DISIPC certification, too.
“Taking a little extra effort is always worth it,” she says. “You’re going to set yourself apart from others, and I don’t think that anybody should allow themselves to go stagnant in their learning process.”
Huey agrees, saying offices he hadn’t previously worked with took notice and have done more business with him.
“Anyone thinking about [earning the certification] should do it,” he says. “Talk to your manager and see if they’ll help pay for it.”
For Baker, her pursuit of infection control knowledge won’t end with earning DISIPC certification.
“With infection prevention, we must always attempt to do our best,” she says. “The learning doesn’t stop with a certificate. It’s just a destination point along the road we’re traveling to the safest dental visit.”
How to get started
The DISIPC certification exam officially launched in June 2022. Candidates must fulfill education and experience requirements to be eligible for the exam, which can include holding the OSAP-DALE Foundation Dental Infection Prevention and Control Certificate.
To learn more and view the eligibility requirements, visit dentalinfectioncontrol.org/certification/disipc.