Anchorage – UW DENTEX Clinic

In February, staff reflected on the last four years as we wrote our report narrative for WK Kellogg Foundation. We realized that in spite of some extreme setbacks, Alaska DHAT has accomplished its objectives, and then some: measuring the combined population of the villages currently served by DHATs, over 35,000 more people in rural Alaska now have access to oral healthcare.

DHATs are dedicated oral healthcare providers, working in areas where there has been itinerant dental care for decades: Togiak, Shishmaref, Savoonga, Shungnak, Klawock, Yakutat, Point Hope, to name just a few of 25 communities. This fact is encouraging as we prepare for the next class, and we look forward to increasing those numbers in the coming years.

Bethel – Yuut Elitnaurviat Dental Training Clinic

The DHAT students had 102 patient encounters during the month of February and provided a variety of general dental services for their patients. Dr. Robert Allen instructed the students on the atraumatic removal of primary and permanent teeth.

The students are working together on a joint Community Project this year. They are developing an athletic mouthguard program, which includes completing a needs assessment, setting objectives, implementation, and an overall program evaluation. This project will be ongoing throughout the year. In addition to the mouthguard program, the students will continue to work with the Head Start class. On Tuesday, February 15th, the students, Dr. Allen and Kathy Balasko went to the Head Start to complete oral exams and provide preventive services.

Savannah Bonorden

From Sitka,AK

Employed by Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium

“Alaska is a big state and access can be difficult especially with the conditions of weather or with the expensive of travel. So having a DHAT placed in a village setting is both rewarding and beneficial for the people. I see the dental therapists as a new mainstream for dental prevention, working together as a team with all occupations of the dental field. We’re a new kind of provider, a profession that has so much promise to the future of oral health. I see all the smiles and gratitude the patients have for the services we provide and I’m proud to be here helping. It warms my heart and gives me the sense that I’m doing something right.”