Launched in 2007 as a collaborative effort between the Alaska Native Tribal Health Center and the University of Washington, DENTEX was developed to meet the oral health needs of native Alaskan people across 200 remote villages. Students enter a 24-month program as Dental Health Aide Therapists to learn prevention services, fillings, and uncomplicated extractions while working under supervising dentists. Year 1 is classroom instruction in Anchorage. In year 2 the trainees transfer to Bethel Alaska for supervised hands-on clinical experience with local patients. Currently, nearly 40,000 Alaska Native people living in rural Alaska now have improved access to regular dental care by more than two dozen federally certified DHATs.
Jana SchuerchBased in Kiana
Employed by Maniilaq Association
“I was born in Kotzebue and grew up in Kiana where I spent the majority of my life. It’s clear that additional efforts in addressing the prevention of tooth decay in underserved Rural Alaska Communities are needed. As a Dental Health Aide Therapist I have the opportunity to work within a small community, getting patients out of pain, restoring teeth, and working on preventing dental decay. These efforts will ultimately slow the growing tooth decay in our region.