The distances in Alaska are vast. Even when they’re not neighboring communities are often cut off from one another during the winter as waterways freeze over requiring snow vehicles where once a boat would do. DHATs are meant to bridge the gap of yearly visits from itinerant dentists by living in these communities where they were raised and understand the culture. Many DHAT providers have a service region that extends beyond the base community where they live. Neighboring communities can add 80 more residents here, 100 more there, sometimes doubling their patient load above the base community. Even short distances require complex travel, usually by plane, to provide proper oral healthcare services to those who would not otherwise benefit.
Melanie HarrisFrom Hooper Bay, AK
Sponsored by Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation
“I was born and raised in a small country town in Pennsylvania where I grew to love hunting and all the activities the outdoors provide. When I was given a chance to work in Alaska over a year ago I let nothing get in the way. I simply love the way of life here. I moved to Hooper Bay, Alaska to work in their dental clinic looking for a new experience after 11 plus years in the field. I understand almost all aspects of dentistry. It is a privilege to treat our patients with the care they need and deserve. This is my dream come true.”