Kellogg Foundation visits YK DHAT program

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Veronica de Castro Rable, a visitor with the Kellogg Foundation, talks with James Paul, father of patient Lynsie Paul, as Dental Health Aide Thereapists Trish Patton and Audrey Bailie do their work.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), Yuut Elitnaurvik and YKHC’s Dental Department, hosted a group of 16 visiting dentists, oral health policy makers, representatives from Bethel Communi

ty Services Foundation, and the Rasmuson Foundation recently. The guests were from all over the nation, on an educational tour of YKHC’s campus facilities and the Yuut Elitnaurvik’s DHAT training center.

They learned about the history of oral health in the YK Delta and saw a presentation on some of the dental problems we face in our region. The group also received a presentation on the development of the DHAT program with its curriculum, standards, and scope of practice. Live patient demos were provided by currently practicing DHATs that included enriching dialogue about current initiatives to address our oral health challenges.

“This is a remarkable learning opportunity,” said Kathy Reincke, Communications Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “It allows us to see first hand the value and the dedication of the DHAT program,” she said.

Alice Warner, the Program Officer at the Kellogg Foundation, agreed with her colleague and said, “This is an opportunity worth exploring.” She also explained that the DHAT program is a model other dentists across America may not be familiar with, and she complimented the DHAT program on the value of their work and their high quality of care within their scope of practice.

The idea behind this educational tour is for the dentists and other healthcare executives to gain familiarity and knowledge about the DHAT program—the training and curriculum, as well as relationships dental health aide therapists and their supervising dentists share—in hopes of introducing similar programs in the Lower-48. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored a similar tour last summer and is expecting to bring another group to visit YKHC in September.

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