July 11, 2019, KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Dental hygiene students at Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” recently completed a yearlong course designed to help the Klamath County community while also gaining real-world experience, amounting to over $27,000 in dental services through the Community Dental Health course, which all sophomores and juniors take for 4 terms.
“It is important for our students’ education and training that they go outside the classroom and into the community,” said instructor of Community Health Darlene Swigart. “Through these experiences they meet people and identify the needs of populations that do not have full access to preventive care, bringing those populations into our clinic for care when possible.”
The hygienists-in-training in the Community Health course this year completed the following clinics and volunteer activities:
- Malin Elementary Education Day
o Students submitted an Oregon Tech Resource Budget Grant proposal to provide an education day at Malin Elementary with hands-on activities. Every Malin student received education and took home an oral health kit containing toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.
o A sealant day at Malin elementary was conducted in collaboration with industry partner, Konnect Dental Kare, who provided sealant and fluoride supplies.
o Some elementary students also expanded care by visiting the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic and received dental cleanings, radiographs, fluoride applications and oral health education.
o The dental hygiene students also went to a parent-teacher conference day and brought oral health educational information to the parents. Dental hygiene student Mayra RochaRamos translated clinical consent forms for Spanish-speaking parents.
- Mayra was awarded the 2019 Oregon Tech Outstanding Community Service Award for her work as the leader for the Malin project and her passion was the catalyst to go above and beyond for this population.
- Mayra is also the president of the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association organization at Oregon Tech.
o Financial value of services: $7,709.
- Mills and Pelican Elementary students and the after-school programs
o Provided oral health screenings, fluoride applications and sealants in collaboration with industry partner, Konnect Dental Kare, to those students with parent/guardian consent at both schools.
o Provided students at Mills Elementary after-school program appointments in the Oregon Tech Dental Clinic. These students received dental cleanings, radiographs, fluoride applications and oral health education.
o A donation of $2,000 was received from the Klamath Basin Sunrise Rotary for the clinic appointments and sealant days.
o Financial value of services: $11,094.
- Klamath City and County Transition’s Programs
o Students submitted a proposal to the Oregon Tech Resource Budget Grant committee to provide care to students with special needs ages 18-21.
o Services completed in the Oregon Tech Dental Hygiene Clinic included: preventative oral health services including dental cleanings, radiographs, fluoride applications and oral health education. Power toothbrushes and SPF lip balm were provided to every student enrolled in the programs.
o Financial value of services and products: $6,092.
- YMCA and Tiny Hopefuls Preschools
o Children ages 3-5 years old received age-appropriate hands-on dental education activities. Oral health toothbrushes, toothpaste and fluoride varnish provided by a donation from industry partner, Colgate.
o Financial value of services: $2,772.
- Merrill Health Fair, Skylakes Health Fair and the Klamath Children’s Learning Fair
o Students provided dental education and hands-on activities.
- Free Dental Days in Merrill and Malin
o Dental hygiene students volunteered their time in collaboration with Medical Teams International and the Klamath Basin Oral Health Coalition, providing dental cleanings and fluoride applications.
“The Community Dental Health course is an important part of our students’ education at Oregon Tech,” Swigart said. “They are responsible for identifying organizations and groups within the community to serve each year, arranging services and creating a dental health education program to teach patients about best practices they can do at home. At every project, the dental hygiene students provided oral health education on-site at the school location that included hands-on, age appropriate activities. Every student that participated in the educational sessions received an oral health care kit containing toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss.”
In addition to the activities above, students once again had the opportunity to expand their education this year with an International Externship Program (IEP) to Jamaica. Two faculty members and six dental hygiene students traveled to Whitehouse, Jamaica in September 2018 to provide dental care to underserved populations in rural areas. “Taking students on externship trips not only exposes them to global oral health care needs, but also provides invaluable clinical experiences,” said Oregon Tech IEP instructor, Jeannie Bopp. Services provided during their week of providing care totaled 719 patients and a value of services of $38,410.
Donations received each year determine services that Oregon Tech students are able to provide and are critical to community clinic operations. Swigart said, “The amount of Klamath county and city students we were able to see this year was made possible by these community donations. We hope each year to be able to expand our reach with continued donations from these generous organizations.”
Recap of Grants and Donations
- Malin Oregon Tech Resource Budget Grant $2,276.10.
- Transitions Oregon Tech Resource Budget Grant $5,000.
- Mills and Pelican Klamath Basin Sunrise Rotary donation $2,000.
- Colgate donation of supplies (toothbrushes, paste, floss, fluoride varnish) $1,388.
- Oral B donation of oral health supplies (toothbrushes, paste and floss) $1,050.
- Brenna Chavarin, Konnect Dental Kare, provided supplies for screenings, fluoride applications and sealants at the elementary schools.
- Oregon Community Foundation provided 200 oral health care kits containing toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss and timers that were distributed on education days at the elementary schools.
The Dental Hygiene Clinic at Oregon Tech provides care to community members for reduced fees. Students continue to see patients of all ages on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. To learn more about the clinic visit www.oitdentalhygieneclinic.com. For information regarding donations to the Community Dental Health projects, please contact Community Health organizer, Darlene Swigart at Darlene.email@example.com.