The European Association of Registered Dental Hygienists (EARDH) was the brainchild of Carol Bartoschek, an American Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) who was working for the US Military Command in Europe. Living and working in Germany for many years, Carol had problems finding continuing education credits (CEU) which would qualify to meet licensing requirements for renewal of her US Dental Hygiene license. Encouraged by interest in forming an educational venue which addressed the needs of the RDH, Carol invited RDHs attending a Periodontal Conference, in the Spring of 1998, to a luncheon to discuss the possibility of forming an RDH organization. Of secondary interest was an organization which could act as a liaison for dental hygienists employed by the US Military Command in Europe. Consequently, the 14 RDHs who attended the luncheon formed an organization with the original title, “The European Association of Registered Dental Hygienists Employed by the U.S. Military Commands in Europe”. As a result of Carol’s dedication and hard work, she was elected President. Peggy Minneman, an American RDH also employed by the U.S. Military Command in Europe, was elected Vice-President. The organization was renamed “European Association of Registered Dental Hygienists“ (EARDH) and grew to an organization dedicated to providing dental hygiene-specific continuing education. There are currently 50 plus active members from, not only, the US Military Commands in Europe, but also RDHs employed in civilian dental practices in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other countries in Europe. The annual EARDH Conference and Meeting has grown from, originally, a one-day event with 6 CEUs to a three day conference averaging 14 CEUs, approved by the American Academy of Dental Hygiene. Internationally renowned dental professionals and dental hygiene educators are invited annually as guest lecturers, thereby elevating the EARDH continuing education endeavours to world-class rating. The EARDH continues to strive for excellence in dental hygiene continuing education.
In 2007, the EARDH underwent a major change. It severed its former association with the US Military Command in Europe and became a self-standing civilian organization registered with the German community as the “European Association of Registered Dental Hygienists, e.v.”. Henceforth, the organization has no connection with the US Military Command in Europe and simply supports the continuing education endeavours of ALL Registered Dental Hygienists in Europe, regardless of place of employment.
The EARDH motto continues to be: Furthering the Dental Hygiene Profession!