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.
Danielle BostonBased in Chistochina, AK
Employed by Mt. Sanford Tribal Health Consortium
“Joining the DHAT Program has rewarded me in many ways, I have grown and developed exponentially personally and professionally; I continue to do so on a daily basis. I have the honor of working in the community that I was raised in; I also serve the neighboring village of Mentasta. Being able to provide a much-needed service to both of these villages has been fulfilling in knowing that I make a huge impact on the oral health of the communities that I serve. Seeing the children is my favorite part of my practice, I have been able to change the dental setting to be positive as opposed to being a negative experience.”