• Journal Article

Cultural context in the effort to improve oral health among Alaska native people: The dental health aide therapist model

Citation

Wetterhall, S., Burrus, B., Shugars, D., & Bader, J. (2011). Cultural context in the effort to improve oral health among Alaska native people: The dental health aide therapist model. American Journal of Public Health, 101(10), 1836-1840. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300356

Abstract

The Alaska Native people in rural Alaska face serious challenges in obtaining dental care. Itinerant care models have failed to meet their needs for more than 50 years. The dental health aide therapist (DHAT) model, which entails training midlevel care providers to perform limited restorative, surgical, and preventive procedures, was adopted to address some of the limitations of the itinerant model. We used quantitative and qualitative methods to assess residents' satisfaction with the model and the role of DHATs in the cultural context in which they operate. Our findings suggest that the DHAT model can provide much-needed access to urgent care and is beneficial from a comprehensive cultural perspective