“We’re meeting a need that is not being met,”

Dental hygienists in Alaska helping people, saving taxpayer dollars, and the ADA frowns…..calling it a public health issue while dentists in the public sector say it’s nothing more than turf protectionism:

Full Story. 

(New York Times) 

river Jordan
Author: river Jordan

After graduating from the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine in 1997, I had a hobby practice for a few years before moving to Northern India to study Buddhism. During this time, I volunteered in a local clinic, giving acupuncture to Tibetan refugees and Indian nationals. <p> Returning to the U.S. in 2002, I started a typical insurance based acupuncture practice catering to the upper middle class. In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, I volunteered with <a href="https://www.acuwithoutborders.org/" target="_blank">Acupuncturists Without Borders</a>, using community style acupuncture to treat trauma victims in a natural disaster setting. </p> Inspired by the power and efficacy of acupuncture in a post-disaster setting, I began to contemplate issues of socioeconomic class. What could be done to make acupuncture accessible to everyone and still provider a livable wage for an acupuncturist? After attending WCA's first conference in October of 2006, I had found the answer to that question. In January 2007, together with my partner Serena Sundaram, we founded <a href="https://www.communichi.org/" target="_blank">Communichi</a>, Seattle's first dedicated community acupuncture clinic. <p> As a Buddhist, I believe that healing begins in the mind. As the positive qualities of wisdom and compassion are cultivated in the mind of a practitioner, this...

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  1. resonance

    Actually, it sounds like they receive some additional training beyond what a normal hygienist receives. I posted the link because the story seems to resonate with CAN’s mission to deliver effective care at an affordable price, providing local solutions to the pitfalls of relying solely on self interested national professional organizations (like the ADA)….and of course the insurance/managed care paradigm which serves only a few at the expense of many. 

    Cynicism is a smokescreen for laziness and fear. Clear light mind awaken! Pierce through all layers of doubt and delusion! Inspire me onwards in ceaseless waves of selfless activity.

  2. Im Dreaming on..

    The thing that will help our patients is having the medical service that they need available at the most affordable price , in walkable distance from their house or place of work, done by the Provider who has the training to perform that service in a competent and professional manner.

    That is what the Dental Therapist service provides to the Alaskan Native community.It is a good analogy to that which we are trying to provide our under served communities

    It was based on a very succesful program from New Zealand where the Native community was not getting the basic dental care tha theyt needed because of lack of trained Providers.If my memory serves me like the program in Alaska it was also important to the community that they serve that the therapists be Maori if possible for a number of reasons .To provide positive role models, and to provide a familiar face after a history of paternalistic health care ,being the most important.

    The Dental Therapists join the Community Health Aides in the remote communities to provide front line primary care where before there was none. They are taught , like us to recognize when they can do routine therapy and when they need to refer to 4 year trained dentists , available for immediate consultation by telemedicine in the Big Smoke . 

    The Alaska Native Health Care system is truly a wonderful model for the delivery of health care in this country to the community that they serve.While working there I often thought that this is the model that we should be looking to for a national health care system with its mix of community and patient empowerment,stress on preventative care  and taking the medicine to the people where they live and delivering it in a culturally sensitive fashion where possible.

    Like us, the system seeks to work from low tech (doctors visits on the day you need them with your doctor, routine screening) to high tech(surgical procedures and hospitalizations when needed)They seek to treat the whole person with integrated mental and social services and complementary and traditional medicine and the Providers are all talking to each other , not spending time and energy on protecting their bit of turf.

    AAAAh to dream




  3. The entire dental profession needs an overhaul. Glad to see something is being done to make routine dental work more affordable. Also, glad to be part of the POCA mission and hope many more types of businesses see things the way we do.