Real Achievement: MTC Names 2018 Distinguished Alumni
The 2018 Midlands Technical College Distinguished Alumni honoree, Tammi Byrd, used her entrepreneurial spirit to open her own company and become a state, national, and international leader bringing services to those in need.
Tammi Byrd graduated with an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene from Midlands Technical College in 1979. Today, she is the CEO and Clinical Director of Health Promotion Specialists, a school-based dental disease prevention program that provides services across the Palmetto State.
“When we started Health Promotion Specialists, we expected to see three-to-four school districts with three-to-four hygienists, but there was such a need that we were contacted by every district in the state,” said Byrd. “Now, the program is in more than half of the school districts in South Carolina, and Health Promotion Specialists see nearly 22,000 students every year.”
Due to her company’s efforts, South Carolina is now recognized as one of the top states in the country for children’s oral health by the Pew Center on State Policy. This emphasis of dental hygienists as preventative specialists has helped cause a paradigm shift in healthcare from a surgical model to a wellness model.
“MTC was a great starting point for me. I loved dental hygiene. I had no idea it would evolve into all of this, and it all began at Midlands Technical College. The professors there told me to focus on being a professional and not just having a job – and that’s what I did!” said Bryd.
The MTC Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who, over an extended period of time or through a singular achievement, have reached exemplary success in their field, or provided extraordinary service to MTC, their community, state, or nation. Tammi Byrd embodies all of these attributes, including having her expertise recognized on an international scale and being published in The Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice.
“Tammi is a visionary who has used her strength to help place the profession of dental hygiene as a recognized and well-respected player during the discussions of healthcare and preventative care,” said MTC President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “She is deserving of this recognition as she has taken the education she received at MTC to represent the profession and make a difference at the community, state, national, and international levels.”
Byrd is past president of the South Carolina Dental Hygiene Association and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). She has also served as one of two United States Delegates to the International Federation of Dental Hygienists.
“My goal for the future is to expand my company’s reach and help more children, at-risk families, and vulnerable seniors. I think if we don’t take care of each other, we are a lost world. The most important thing we can do is to love, honor, and respect each other,” said Byrd.
Watch a video about Tammi, and hear in her own words how she and her staff deliver dental hygiene services to help those in need.