Second year students travel to remote Bethel, Alaska, 400 air miles west of Anchorage, to gain practical experience working with patients in real life clinical situations. Accessible only by air and river, Bethel is the largest community in Western Alaska and serves the health needs of more than 50 villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim river delta. The training program has an up to date six-chair dental clinic where, since 2008, Alaska Native residents can go to have their oral healthcare needs met by DHAT trainees. Under the supervision of dentist faculty students bring into their clinical year everything learned in their first year classroom and pre-clinic laboratory. Upon graduation at the end of this clinical year, and following a 400 hour clinical preceptorship and federal certification, the DHATs return to their own communities to offer dental healthcare services that meet the most common needs of their fellow villagers.
Daniel B. KennedyBased in Klawok, AK
Employed by Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corporation
“I have been working for Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) as a Dental Health Aid Therapist since January, 2009. I received my certification on July, 2009. 2013 will be my fourth year working for SEARHC. I have practiced what I have learned at my training with many community projects that educate, teach oral hygiene instruction and prevention to Headstart programs, public schools, mothers and mothers to be, diabetics, and the elderly. I want to break down the fear barrier between patients and the dental clinic. It is an ongoing mission to convince patients not to be so scared when they come to the dental clinic. The majority of the patients have dental phobias partly due to the dental clinic located within the same building as the medical clinic.”