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.
Shawn MartinBethel, AK
Sponsored by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation
“I am from the community of Bethel, the place where I was born and raised. I want to give my dental knowledge to the community. Some families can’t travel to Bethel to see a dentist due to insufficient money or time. That’s where I will come in and bring oral care to remote patients. Teach patients how to brush and floss. Tell them the importance of applying fluoride to their teeth. Teach children about cavity bugs and why they have to brush them off or have holes in their teeth. I will become a Dental Health Aide Therapist to provide preventive and routine dental care to my people.”