Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs) provide professional and culturally competent dental care and prevention services, fighting the decades-long epidemic of oral suffering and disease around rural Alaska and improving access to dental care for Alaska Native people. A DHAT is a dental team member who works under the supervision of a licensed dentist providing a limited range of services. Those services include patient and community-based preventive dental services, basic restorations and uncomplicated extractions.
The Alaska Dental Therapy Educational Program (ADTEP) is two years in length, followed by at least three months of preceptorship with a supervising dentist. Successful completion of these requirements is needed prior to certification by the Alaska Community Health Aide Program Certification Board. A DHAT’s education provides them with the skills to meet the majority of basic dental care needs in rural Alaska Native communities.
ANTHC partners with the Iḷisaġvik Tribal College and offers an Associate’s Degree in Dental Therapy. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico passed legislation and approved DHAT Programs in their states. ANTHC also provides DHAT Educational opportunities for First Nations students from Canada under the Jay Treaty.