Rural Alaska oral health pilot program lauded

Alaska Beat

According to a press release from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an independent evaluation has found that an innovative pilot program in Alaska, which may become a nationwide model to increase the quality and availability of dental care in rural areas, is having professional success and is being well-received in communities. The study, conducted by RTI International, found that dental therapists participating in the program are skilled enough to complete the work within their jobs, are consistently working to treat neglected cavities and long-endured pain under the supervision of dentists, and that patient satisfaction is very high.

"The findings of this evaluation are critically important to the people of Alaska. They demonstrate that the Dental Health Aide Therapist program is working and has the potential to dramatically improve oral health," said Jerry Drake, executive director, Bethel Community Services Foundation. "Alaskan children and families have some of the highest levels of oral disease in the country. If we can train and employ more dental therapists, we can make a real difference in the overall health of Alaskans."

Find the press release, the study itself, and related information about Alaska's Dental Health Aide Therapist program, here.