Karen Dorothy Essell

Adjunct Clinical Lecturer in Dentistry


Dental Hygiene




After graduating from the University of Michigan with a BSDH in 1969, I worked in private practice for forty years. I practiced in a few different states before returning to Michigan to settle into a general practice just a few blocks from the School of Dentistry. Towards the end of my career in private practice, some local hygienists and I started a PA 161 program with Washtenaw County Head Start centers to provide screening exams, fluoride varnish and referrals at no charge to all Head Start children. After 10 years, this program transitioned to the U-M Dental Hygiene program, to give dental hygiene students a wonderful community experience. I have been a member of ADHA, served as an MDHA trustee and delegate to ADHA. I was awarded the University of Michigan Outstanding DH Alumnae Award in 2007, Johnson and Johnson Hygienist Hero Award in 2008, the Francis Shook Award in 2012 from MDHA, and the Emeritus Award in 2019. I enjoy the opportunity interacting with dental hygiene students who will be our future leaders.