Dental Health Aides for Alaska Natives Observed by Dental Leaders and Professionals
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) led two outreach trips of local and national dental leaders and professionals to educate them about the use of dental health aide therapists to provide dental care to rural Alaska residents.
Dental health aide therapists perform a variety of services, including:
- Oral health education.
- Preventive services (fluoride, sealants and cleaning).
- Fillings and uncomplicated extractions to reserve function and address pain and infection.
ANTHC conducted two outreach trips with local and national dental leaders and professionals:
- In all, some 25 local and national dental leaders and professionals participated in the two trips, which were held July 1719, 2006 and May 1317 2007.
- Participants included representatives from local and national organizations, including:
- The trips were designed to expose participants to the challenges of oral health care in Alaska. Participants observed:
- Dental clinics operated by Southcentral Foundation, Anchorage.
- A dental health aide therapist practicing in the village of Toksook Bay (population 532).
- An itinerant dentist who operates a dental clinic in Kasigluk (population 543) with no permanent dental facility or running water.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a grant of $15,300 from October 2006 to June 2007. The Rasmusson Foundation provided matching funds.
After the Grant
In January 2007, ANTHC and the University of Washington initiated DENTEX, a two-year Alaska-based training program for dental health aide therapists. The program was modeled after and runs under the auspices of the University of Washington MEDEX Northwest program, which trains physician assistants.
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Improving the Oral Health of Alaska Natives by Using Rural Outreach Trips to Gain Support for the Dental Health Aide Therapist Program
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Anchorage, AK)
Dates: October 2006 to June 2007
Ronald Nagel, D.D.S., M.P.H.
Report prepared by: Richard Camer
Reviewed by: Marian Bass
Program Officer: David J. Morse