Tribe and Nicolet College form accredited dental hygiene program

September 9, 2013

From starjournalnow.com: “Lac du Flambeau Tribe and Nicolet College form accredited tribal-technical college dental hygiene program” — The Lac du Flambeau Tribe is proud to announce the formation of the accredited Tribal-Technical College Dental Hygiene program. This premiere collaboration is the first of its kind partnership between an Indian Tribe and a technical college in the nation. Nicolet College, in association with Peter Christensen Dental Campus, has developed the accredited tribal-technical Dental Hygiene program.

Nicolet College recently received its initial accreditation approval from the national Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The partnership allows students a hands-on educational experience in a state-of-the-art dental facility.

“This is great news, especially for the students currently in, or looking at entering the Dental Hygiene program,” Dr. Lenore Mangles, Dean of Health Occupations at Nicolet College, said. “In order for students to take their licensure exam to work in the Dental Hygiene field, they must graduate from an accredited program. We are thrilled students in the Northwoods will now have that opportunity.”

The rigorous accreditation process started nearly a year ago, and included a comprehensive review of numerous aspects of Nicolet’s program. The process included evaluations of course content, what skills students would learn, and a plan for students that ensured clinical training on patients of all ages.

To meet the requirements the college worked extensively with Dental Director Paco Fralick and other staff at the Peter Christensen Dental Campus to develop a curriculum that would meet the CODA requirements and provide accessible career opportunities for Tribal Members and students throughout the Northwoods region.

This past spring, five of the 10 students that enrolled in the dental assisting program were Native American. For the fall session, the program currently has 11 individuals enrolled in the program and five in the dental hygiene program. There are two full-time instructors and three part-time instructors for both programs.

Nicolet College received grant funding for the initial start-up and operation of the programs. Health Director of the Peter Christensen Dental Clinic Paco Fralick is optimistic that the programs will increase the number of Native Americans entering into the field of dentistry.

“I’m very proud of the work our staff and Nicolet College did to make this happen,” Fralick said.

Historically, Native Americans have been overwhelmingly under-represented in the field, with Dr. Fralick being only one of 150 Native American dentists in the nation.
“Now students looking for a career in dental hygiene or dental assisting can have the latest and most technologically advanced learning experience close to home,” Fralick said.

For more information about Nicolet’s dental education programs, visit Nicolet’s website, or call the college at 715-365-4451 or 800-544-3039, extension 4451.

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