Dentists provide effective supervision of Alaska's dental health aide therapists in a variety of settings
Article first published online: 1 JUN 2011
© 2011 American Association of Public Health Dentistry
Journal of Public Health Dentistry
Special Issue: Workforce Development in Dentistry: Addressing Access to Care
Volume 71, Issue Supplement s2, pages S27–S33, Spring 2011
How to Cite
Williard, M. E. and Fauteux, N. (2011), Dentists provide effective supervision of Alaska's dental health aide therapists in a variety of settings. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 71: S27–S33. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2011.00266.x
- Issue published online: 1 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 1 JUN 2011
- Received: 2/5/2011; accepted: 3/30/2011.
- community health aide;
- general supervision;
- Alaska dental health aide therapist;
- dental practice patterns;
- organization and administration;
- access to care;
- standing orders
Objectives: This paper examines the supervisory relationships between Alaska's dental health aide therapists (DHATs) and their supervising dentists to gain insight into how DHATs are being deployed and supervised to increase access while ensuring safety and quality.
Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted with four DHATs, their supervising dentists, and the dental directors at three health corporations in geographically distinct areas of Alaska. Follow-up questions were submitted and responded to via e-mail.
Results: This article profiles three DHATs and their supervising dentists, and offers observations on how dentists supervise and work in a team format with DHATs.
Conclusions: DHATs practice as part of a care team, with dentists providing direct, indirect, and general supervision. Both DHAT training, with its mandatory preceptorship, and the group practice model are designed to assure that DHATs provide safe, competent, and appropriate care within their limited scope of practice. The presence of DHATs allows dentists on the care team to play roles commensurate with the full extent of their training. Tribal health organizations in Alaska are deploying these providers safely and effectively in a variety of roles, according to regional needs and preferences. This suggests the model's potential adaptability to settings outside Alaska.