Dental Hygiene Students are ‘Scaling’ Pandemic Challenges

Students in the EWU Dental Hygiene Program have remained Eagle Strong during the COVID-19 pandemic by turning challenges into experiential learning opportunities.

While the students have demonstrated resiliency and flexibility in navigating these challenges, say their faculty leaders, it has been their innovative ideas and desire to serve the community that has resulted in these new opportunities. Since the initial pivot to virtual classrooms, new “PPE” protocol, social distancing and navigating Zoom, the students have been busy finding non-traditional ways to engage in service-learning, provide clinical care and provide education to the community on accessing dental care during the pandemic.

These ideas have resulted in a number of new opportunities. The EWU Dental Hygiene Program has never had a dental specialty clinical rotation in pediatric dentistry. This year the students are conducting their first one, in partnership with Dr. Jared Evan, DDS at KiDDS Dentistry.

The students were also able to virtually attend this year’s specialty training in pediatric dentistry in Early Childhood Oral Health (EChOTrain) in partnership with the University of Washington. Students worked with the Check and Connect Program with Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW) and Meals on Wheels of Spokane County, to make weekly phone calls to seniors in the community, providing conversation and identifying needs they may have.

If you were to ask the students how this was made possible, they would probably use their new catch phrase: It takes patience with a “C” and patients with a “T”!

The EWU Dental Hygiene Department, and dental hygiene students, treat patients of all ages and accept Delta Dental insurance plans and Medicaid (Provider One/Apple Health). The clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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