Service With A Smile: Alaska’s solution for America’s Dental Health Care Crisis | WorkingNation

Service With A Smile: Alaska’s solution for America’s Dental Health Care Crisis | WorkingNation


When I was a child We would be rounded up at the school to see the dentist when the door would open. We would see the dentist standing there Literally wearing a butcher’s apron covered in blood and our friend holding their mouth One kid had eight teeth pulled in one sit down That’s just what it was like for us when we were little It’s impossible for one dentist to see all the people in all the villages in a timely manner and healthcare in general Primary care physicians are using physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners a lot We plan to do that in dentistry with the D head It used to be that people in Alaska Native communities will walk around with teeth missing and Not think anything of it clearly the tribes were not okay with that So they took it upon themselves to create a program that would address those needs. It was a game changer Now we have young people that can smile big and beautiful smiles My name is Mary Willard. I’m the director of the Alaska dental therapy educational program at Ellis avec college When I was three years old, I was in foster care and I had an abscess tooth. I was in the hospital for three days Dr. Mary Willard operated on me and a few years later me and my two brothers were adopted to her It is hard to get dental care when you’re living out in the bush. I’ve Experienced it firsthand. Definitely. It’s easier now because of the program The Alaska dental therapy educational program was created to solve the problem of high Dental disease rates what we didn’t know is all the other things that the program would do It’s provided an economic engine in communities where jobs are hard to find But now you can go away get an education and come back home and have a really great job. I Didn’t really have an idea exactly what it was that I wanted to be when I grew up. I went to school to try to become a dental hygienist, but I wanted to do more I Chose the program because it would allow me to stay in my community and help the people that I love seeing on a daily basis My name is Anna de Graaff murid I’m from Plummer, Idaho. I’m a Coeur d’Alene terrible number we have a very nice dental clinic, but we cannot recruit dentist into the I think the hats are gonna fill that gap there. We’re looking forward to our first graduate They come home and be the most wonderful role model for our young people pointing to healthcare I know their communities in the lower 48 like East LA or inner-city, Boston That would really benefit from similar programming where kids come and learn what we have to offer Then take it back to the community Previously we had to send people halfway around the world to get this education We wanted to provide the education and closer to home. It wasn’t easy The American Dental Association was not happy with this program for many reasons that really aren’t founded but it really broke my heart But it didn’t deter me because I’d seen it. I knew what we needed Because they’re having a huge huge impact There’s a generation of kids that don’t have cavities that have zero Cavities and that’s the first time you’ve ever seen and I think it’s amazing Now we have research data evidence showing that communities that have had D hats are seeing more patients retain teeth They really are the heroes of our communities kids see them everywhere. They see him at the school. They see them at the store It’s basic human nature that the people that you know and trust are those that you listen to We talk about our young people being educated and coming back and giving to their community. I mean, it’s contagious You know it builds a relationship With the whole tribe I think that this has created the standard of living that we would all hope that our tribal members could get to to be in a professional position It says a lot about somebody it shows the way of life that they’re ready to live To those that think that they can’t do it I just want them to know that they can there’s another life out there for you. I’m proud of her. She’s a pioneer Basically in her field she is putting a real role model thing out there for her kids, and I’m just really proud of her Our graduates are a face of the future that can be different Many young people feel like they need to leave the villages in order to have a successful career this program Changes that it’s created hope and communities where hope is not always Available providing people access to dental care provides them access to a healthier life

3 thoughts on “Service With A Smile: Alaska’s solution for America’s Dental Health Care Crisis | WorkingNation

  1. Amazing video and amazing program. I am impressed. I also have worked training paraprofessional counsellors in northern Indigenous communities in Canada. There are many similarities and crossovers between the programs. I am happy to have met Philip Woods, one of the instructors in this program. Best wishes to all of those involved! Geneva Ensign

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