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Real Smiles: Nationally published MTC alumna helps thousands smile brighter

Tammi Byrd graduated with an Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene from Midlands Technical College in 1979. Today, she is CEO and Clinical Director of Health Promotion Specialists, a program she helped create.

Health Promotion Specialists is a school-based dental disease prevention program that provides services across the Palmetto State. Tammi and her staff deliver dental hygiene services to children who might otherwise not have dental care.

Due to her company’s efforts, South Carolina is recognized as one of the top states in the country for children’s oral health by the Pew Center on The States. Her work is recognized on an international scale, and she recently was published in The Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice.

Here is Tammi’s story in her own words.

“MTC was a great starting point for me. I loved dental hygiene.

I had no idea the program I helped start 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!

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 for what we were doing, that we were contacted by every district in the state. 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.

I would say that probably three quarters of the hygienists I employ graduated from Midlands Technical College. I know that all of the students that I have hired from Midlands Tech have been outstanding, and I keep my hands in that program because I know it is such a good program.

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.

My name is Tammi Byrd and you can get anywhere from Midlands Technical College.”