Dental Health Aide Therapists celebrate graduation and program enhancements in new partnership with Iḷisaġvik College

June 10, 2016

On Friday, June 3, ANTHC’s Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) educational program hosted their annual Dental Health Aide Therapist graduation and transition ceremony. At the ceremony, ANTHC, the University of Washington MEDEX program and Iḷisaġvik College announced enhancements to the DHAT educational program. In 2017, the program will be academically affiliated with Iḷisaġvik College, Alaska’s only accredited Tribal college, and will now offer both a certificate and an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Health Therapy, allowing students to apply for scholarships and federal student aid. Read more about the changes to the DHAT program here: Dental Health Aide Therapy Training Program becomes a Degree program, gains financial aid eligibility and comes home to Alaska in 2017. Also celebrated were two new graduates from their two-year course of study last Friday. An additional seven students participated in the white coat ceremony, which symbolizes the transition from their first year to their second year of education and the beginning of clinical practice. The DHAT graduates heard remarks from several guest speakers including Diane Kaplan, President and CEO of the Rasmuson Foundation, Dr. Christopher Halliday, Dean of the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health, A.T. Still University, Terry Scott, Director of the University of Washington MEDEX program, and Pearl Brower, President of Iḷisaġvik College congratulating them on their achievements and commitment to Tribal dental health. The audience included the students’ family and friends, along with numerous ANTHC partners who have supported the DHAT Educational Program. This was the eighth graduation ceremony for the ANTHC DHAT Educational Program that brings dental health closer to home for rural communities. Graduating students are: Summer Lynch of Haines, Alaska, sponsored by SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Jaslyn Wren of Iliamna, Alaska sponsored by Southcentral Foundation. Transitioning students are: Dominic Comerate, Jr., Deidre Dayton and Tiffany George, sponsored by Tanana Chiefs Conference; Naomi Petrie, sponsored by Confederate Tribes of Coos Bay, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians; Allison Ayapan and Hannah Howard, sponsored by Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation; and Shonna Wheeler, sponsored by Eastern Aleutian Tribes. Learn more about ANTHC’s work with the Alaska DHAT program at and keep up with Alaska’s DHATs on Facebook at

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