e-mail Print Share

Albuquerque community college to offer CDHC program

August 04, 2014 Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque will launch a Community Dental Health Coordinator training program Aug. 24 to help improve access to care.

Students for the initial program must be registered dental hygienists or certified dental assistants.

"This is truly exciting," said Dr. Charles Norman, ADA president. "Central New Mexico is the first college to offer a CDHC program since the ADA-sponsored pilot program was completed. CDHCs are an integral part of a complex set of solutions needed to address the nation's dental health crisis."

CDHC students will learn interviewing skills, dental health teaching and learning skills, screening and classification, as well as palliative care skills before entering internships with dentists in New Mexico communities.

"We are proud that New Mexico was the first state to have the CDHC established in law, and excited to be the first to roll out a permanent educational program," said Mark Moores, New Mexico Dental Association executive director. "We look forward to the positive impact that the CDHC will have on the oral health of New Mexicans."

The ADA initiated the CDHC pilot program in 2006. Currently 34 graduates from the pilot program are practicing in eight states. The Association is also working to help other schools in New Mexico and other states integrate the model into their curriculums.

CDHCs play a vital role in improving access to dental care in underserved communities by providing dental health education and basic preventive services, and by helping patients navigate the public health system to receive care from dentists. They help people bridge such barriers as poverty, geography, language, culture and a lack of understanding of oral hygiene.

For more details on the Central New Mexico program, contact the college's Department of Health Wellness and Public Safety at 1-505-224-4111 or visit CNM.edu.

For more information on the history, training components, curriculum and impact of CDHCs through the ADA pilot program, visit ADA.org, click on the Action for Dental Health icon and then the CDHC link.