Conan works in more than a dozen rural villages in Alaska, where regular access to a dentist often means buying a ticket and getting on an airplane. The services provided by dental therapists like Conan are sorely-needed in many rural towns and big cities across America.
A new video spotlights the success of dental therapists working in Alaska. It coincides with the release of the first major independent evaluation of the implementation of the dental therapy program in Alaska. Conducted by RTI International Research of Research Triangle Park, NC, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation and Bethel Community Services Foundation, the evaluation found that dental therapists in Alaska are clearly providing safe, competent, and appropriate dental care.
Dental therapists have been providing preventive and basic dental care to families in remote Alaska Native villages since 2006, as part of a dental team and extending the reach of dentists.
The evaluation found that patients are very satisfied with the care they receive and they are well accepted. Pioneered internationally, dental therapists have been well-established members of the dental team for more than 80 years in nearly 50 countries, including those with advanced dental care systems similar to the U.S. Like nurse practitioners, physician assistants, midwives and nurse anesthetists, they are examples of how the health care workforce has been successfully expanded to improve access to care.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Established in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. www.wkkf.org
SOURCE: W.K. Kellogg Foundation