State dental association, health commissioner to assist with rollout event

Nov. 20, 2009
New online toolkit will help school counselors with job opportunities in dentistry.

NEWARK, New Jersey--The New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, in partnership with the New Jersey Dental Association, will introduce a new online toolkit for high school career counselors.

DHSS Commissioner Heather Howard NJDA President Dr. Steven R. Fink, and others, will be on hand at 10 a.m. Nov. 23, 2009, to assist and support the rollout at Newark's Central High School.

The toolkit is titled "Exposing Diverse Students to Oral Health Professions" and is a 35-page guide to help high school career counselors become more familiar with the fast-growing opportunities for their students in the dental profession.

The first of its kind developed by DHSS., the toolkit is part of the department's mission to eliminate healthcare disparities by encouraging more minorities to enter healthcare professions.

Central High School was chosen as the host because currently it has more than 40 students enrolled in a three-year program that has a dental-specific focus. It is considered a model for this type of secondary-level education.

The school is home to a three-chair dental lab that gives program participants the feel of working in an actual dental setting. Funding for the lab was made possible by a federal education grant and the Delta Dental Foundation.

"We are so pleased to see that a real effort is being made to get more young people interested in dental careers," said Dr. Fink. "Part of the mission of the NJDA is to foster quality and ethical health care for the public, and this endeavor is certainly in line with our mission."

Commissioner Howard, Dr. Fink, CHS Principal Ras Baraka and several students enrolled in the program will discuss the importance of the toolkit and its goal to give career counselors the tools necessary to help students enter the oral health-care profession.

The toolkit outlines the different careers within the dental profession, as well as the academic profile of the ideal candidates for careers. It also contains market statistics about the profession and its future, as well as many resources for career counselors and students looking to extend an interest in dentistry to the college and graduate levels.

Starting Nov. 23, copies of the toolkit will be available for the media at the rollout event or can be downloaded from the Web sites of the DHSS's Office of Minority & Multicultural Health at Office of Minority and Multicultural Health and the New Jersey Dental Association at New Jersey Dental Association.

To read more about the New Jersey Dental Association, go to New Jersey Dental Association.

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