Michael Thibou the third African American male dental hygienist to graduate from MATC

June 14, 2018

Michael Thibou became the third African American male to receive a Dental Hygiene Program degree in the State of Wisconsin when he graduated from MATC on May 11, 2018. According to one of his MATC instructors, LaMont Walker, Thibou is the third African American male in Wisconsin to receive this degree. Walker said he became the first African American male when he received his Dental Hygiene degree in 1988 from Marquette.

Thibou, a married father, said he worked as a hospital assistant for more than 10 years before deciding to pursue his degree in dental hygiene. The one-and-a-half year program requires several perquisite courses for admission. Because he continued to work at his hospital assistant job full time, Thibou pursued his degree on a parttime basis and completed the program in two-and-a-half years.

For years the dental hygiene profession has been dominated by females. At press time it was unknown how many African American females have received degrees in dental hygiene. Thibou said he decided on pursuing that degree after learning that the demand is predicted to exceed the supply of new graduates in the future. Thibou has already found a job and has begun working as a dental hygienist. He said the field was a good one with lots of opportunities and that any Milwaukee high school graduate who was willing to put in the work and make studying a priority could attain a dental hygiene degree.

When contacted for comment about the relatively low number of African American males in Wisconsin, the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) congratulated Thibou and all the other Wisconsin dental hygienist graduates. In a statement provided to The Milwaukee Times, the ADHA said it supports and values diversity, noting its beneficial effect on the hygienists’ ability give optimal care in a diverse population.

“Increased diversity will make the organization even stronger … [our] current policies and glossary definitions further support the importance of both diversity and cultural competence as a profession,” according to Jennifer Walus, senior public relations strategist.