In January 2005 the first of three groups of dental health aide therapists returned to Alaska after finishing two years of training at the University of Otago, New Zealand. New Zealand has been training dental therapists for more than 90 years. After completing clinical preceptorships lasting from four to 12 months, returning DHATs entered practice in underserved areas throughout Alaska. The earliest of them have been serving Alaska Natives for more than seven years.
The DHAT training program moved to Alaska in January 2007 when Cohort I moved into the didactic training site in Anchorage. The students completed their clinical year in Bethel, graduating in December 2008. As of 2012 four cohorts have graduated, and two cohorts are currently in training. Currently, 24 New Zealand- and Alaska-trained DHATs are federally certified and serving their communities in rural Alaska.