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Florida college to offer Community Dental Health Coordinator program

July 21, 2015
Mattia College in Miami, Florida will offer the nation's second Community Dental Health Coordinator program to improve access to dental care.
Mattia College in Miami, Florida is offering a new certificate program aiming to improve access to dental care for people who need it most. The college started classes for its Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC) program, initiated by the American Dental Association (ADA), on July 20. The first entering class is limited to registered dental hygienists and dental assistants with expanded duties. 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.

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“We’re delighted to see a CDHC program opening in Florida,” said ADA President Dr. Maxine Feinberg. “Community colleges across the country are recognizing this curriculum as both a great career path for students and new way to help their communities.”

CDHC students will learn interviewing skills, dental health teaching and learning skills, screening, and classification, before entering internships with dentists in Florida communities.

“This program undoubtedly will be an asset to dentists throughout the state,” said Drew Eason, executive director of the Florida Dental Association. “We are certain that through the efforts of this first class of CDHCs, more Floridians will be able to enjoy the good oral health that they deserve.”

The initial ADA CDHC pilot project graduated 34 CDHCs. Pilot project graduates have brought their skills to such underserved communities as inner cities, remote rural areas and Native American communities in more than eight states. Mattia College is the second higher education institution to implement a CDHC curriculum following the completion of the ADA’s pilot program in Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona. Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque was the first college to offer the certificate program.

The ADA is working to help schools in Illinois, Virginia, and other states integrate the model into their curriculums.

For more on the program, please contact Mattia College’s Continuing Education Department at 305.220.4120, extension 2409.