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.
Shannon HardyBased in Ft. Yukon
Employed by Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments
“I am honored to be a Certified Dental Health Aide Therapist for my community and surrounding villages. Access to care in Alaska is a great need, to be able to provide dental service to help people whether it’s helping with pain or fixing their smiles is a great feeling, as for prevention I set up at schools to provide prevention and education serving approximately 300 school aged children between 3 villages. DENTEX has been a wonderful experience for me and my family, although it was a lot of stress and hard times with help and support from my family, friends, classmates, instructors, and community members I made it through the program successfully and I am working in my region.”