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Kentucky college adds Community Dental Health Coordinator program

October 28, 2015

By Jennifer Garvin

Kentucky program: Devin Stephenson, Ed.D., president, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, signs a letter of intent announcing the school's new Community Dental Health Coordinator certificate program. Also pictured from left are Dr. Nancy Johnson, provost, BSCTC; Richard Whitehouse, executive director, Kentucky Dental Association; Dr. Andy Elliott, past ADA vice president and adjunct professor; Dr. Jane Grover, director, ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations; and Dr. Eric Dixon, dental hygiene program coordinator, BSCTC.
Prestonsburg, Ky. — Big Sandy Community and Technical College signed a letter of intent Oct. 26, announcing the school's new certificate program to train Community Dental Health Coordinators.

The new program, slated to open in 2016, will join four CDHC programs already operating in colleges across the country, including Mattia College in Miami; Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque; Rio Salado College in Tempe, Ariz.; and Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Ill. Three additional schools will begin programs in 2016.

"Community colleges across the country are recognizing this curriculum as both a great career path for students and new way to help their communities," said ADA President Maxine Feinberg. "We're delighted to see a CDHC program opening in Kentucky, where the workers will be of particular value. The state has 24 federally qualified health centers in operation, but only nine of them provide onsite dental services."

CDHCs can bridge between the medical and dental treatment worlds by providing better management of dental disease and integration of care in medical offices, health centers, multispecialty clinics, nursing homes, assisting living facilities, juvenile programs and school-based health centers. In addition, they often play critical roles in managing care for pregnant women and patients with chronic health conditions like diabetes. Most CDHCs come from the same types of remote rural, inner city and Native American communities in which they work, which can help eliminate cultural, language and social barriers.

At Big Sandy, CDHC students will learn motivational interviewing skills, dental health teaching and promotional skills, and community mapping techniques before entering internships with dentists in Kentucky communities.

For more on the program, contact Myra Elliott at the Kentucky Community & Technical College System at 1-606-889-4715 or