Oral Health Outcomes for Alaska Native Communities Served by Dental Therapists Better Than for Those Without, Study Finds


CONTACT: Angela Cox
(907) 334-0509

Where Dental Therapists Practiced, Alaska Native Children and Families Had Fewer Instances of Invasive Procedures and More Preventive Care Visits

Bethel, Alaska – Children had lower rates of tooth extractions and more preventive care in Alaska Native communities served frequently by Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs) than residents in communities not receiving any DHAT services, according to a new study released by the University of Washington.

Current Events

DHAT attracts Lower 48 trainees

Lower 48 communities and tribes have noticed the success of Alaska's Dental Health Therapist Program and they are following Alaska's lead. Read about it in this week's post.

Initiative News

Daring to dream

Rasmuson Foundation Vice Chair Cathryn Rasmuson delivered the keynote address at the 2013 Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) Graduation and Transition Ceremony on June 6. The event was held at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in partnership with the University of Washington, MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Training Program and Yuut Elitnaurviat Dental Training Clinic in Bethel, Alaska. “Each of you are heroes. You’ve dared to dream. You’ve taken action. And you know that you are working as a team.”

Current Events

Volunteer dental outreach program at risk

This week, a very time-sensitive post: During the past five years, more than 700 rural Alaskans have been treated by volunteer dental teams comprised of clinical instructors, professors, pediatric residents, sub-specialty residents and dental students from schools in Arizona, New York and Louisiana. While focused on children, in some villages the teams will treat nearly every resident. And for some communities, like Venetie, the teams are the first dentists in their communities for years. Despite funds committed by Rasmuson Foundation to support future visits, this program is under threat of cancellation as soon as Monday. Read more here.

Current Events

State of the RF address

Rasmuson Foundation President Diane Kaplan reports monthly to the Foundation’s board of directors on activities of the staff, of our nonprofit partners, and notable developments around the state. This post borrows from her report for a quick look at some recent events that we’ve had the pleasure to be involved with.

Current Events

Group post: staff retreat

Last week the entire Rasmuson staff travelled to Nome and Unalakleet. On the itinerary were visits to see some Foundation-funded projects, and meetings with those who provide the nonprofit and community leadership so vital to the Bering Straits region. In this post, many of our staff share a few sentences about their experiences, the lessons they took away, and the incredible generosity show to us by all we encountered. We have lots of photos too!

Initiative News

AK: Pioneers in oral health

Yesterday, after a two-year wait, RTI International of Research Triangle Park, NC, released the results of a comprehensive medical evaluation that found that dental therapists practicing in Alaska provide safe, competent and appropriate dental care. This probably comes as no surprise to the hundreds of rural patients who have received care from a DHAT.

Grantee Updates

Welcome dental funders

This week we welcome visitors from around the country who are here to learn more about the Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) program pioneered in Alaska to improve oral care in very rural communities.

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