EICC adds Community Dental Health Coordination program



Two dental assisting students practicing cleaning teethEICC adds Community Dental Health Coordination program as part of nationwide effort to improve access to dental care in underserved communities

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges is excited to announce the addition of a brand new program specifically designed for dental assistants and dental hygienists that supplies them with community health skills. The Community Dental Health Coordination Certificate (CDHC) is a one-year online program designed to provide training in community-based prevention, care coordination and patient navigation.

It’s all part of a nationwide effort led by the American Dental Association to reduce disparities in dental health access and improve the oral health of those in underserved communities, especially those who do not typically receive regular care from a dentist. EICC is the first college in Iowa to offer the program and only the second college in the country to offer it in an online format.

“This is the perfect program for those dental assistants and dental hygienists who are passionate about helping others and making a difference in the community,” said Barb Nichol, EICC Dental Program Director.

Currently, there are only 134 CDHC graduates across the country. Eastern Iowa Community Colleges hopes to grow that number by offering this valuable training.

“With tens of millions of Americans lacking adequate access to dental care, EICC is proud to offer this certification to help fill that gap,” Nichol said.

“Those with a CDHC certification will act as a liaison between dental offices and resources available in the community. By focusing on oral health education and disease prevention, these professionals will empower people to manage their own oral health.”

CDHCs work in clinics, schools, private practices and public health settings. According to the American Dental Association, CDHCs can have an enormous impact on a community. One CDHC at a Midwest Indian Health Service clinic provided services valued at more than $105,000 to 240 children at Head Start and daycare centers over a 10-month period. Another CDHC working in a single-dentist practice in a remote, rural location nearly doubled the clinic’s productivity in 2011 over the prior year.

Registration is currently underway. Applicants must be Registered Dental Hygienists or Certified Dental Assistants. Curriculum materials will be provided by the American Dental Association. For registration and program information, visit eicc.edu/cdhc or call 1-888-336-3907.