Bulletin of Dental Education

USI Dental Hygiene Clinic Provides Free Dental Care for Veterans

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University of Southern Indiana Logo Access to adequate dental hygiene services is something many
of us take for granted. But for some, including many military veterans, it’s something that may be overlooked altogether. When instructors in the University of Southern Indiana’s (USI) Dental Hygiene Program saw this gap in coverage, they decided to do something about it.

In 2015, the USI Dental Hygiene Clinic, located in the Health Professions Center in USI’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, partnered with the University’s Veteran, Military and Family Resource Center to provide free dental cleanings, fluoride treatments and radiographs for military veterans. The program was such a success that some patients had to be accommodated with additional sessions at later dates. The clinic again offered free sessions in 2016.

“These dental cleaning appointments book very quickly,” says Joel Matherly, Manager of the Veteran, Military and Family Resource Center. “The huge response points to the need in our community for veterans to have access to this type of care. We appreciate how the USI Dental Hygiene Clinic has responded to our veterans.” 

USI’s Dental Hygiene Program collaborates with the Southwest Indiana Area Health Education Center to offer the special clinic hours for veterans. USI faculty supervise the students who work in the clinic and serve the area veterans.

“It is a way to honor those who have served in the military, while also offering an opportunity for our students to gain some experience and a better understanding of the needs of veterans,” says Kimberly Parsons, Ed.D., M.Ed., B.S.D.H., A.S., Assistant Professor of Dental Assisting and Chair of the Dental Hygiene Program.

As interest in the program has spread, students and faculty have worked to extend appointment slots into the evening hours to fully meet the needs of the community.

“Dental hygiene treatments, as well as most other dental services, are not generally covered as a benefit unless they are 100 percent service connected,” says Mr. Matherly. “We continue to work with community partners to spread the word to veterans who might be interested.”

USI’s Dental Hygiene Clinic offers dental hygiene services to adults and children of all ages. All services are performed by students and are supervised and evaluated by dental hygiene faculty. The USI Dental Hygiene Program is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information about USI’s Dental Hygiene Program and Dental Hygiene Clinic, visit USI.edu/health/dental-hygiene. For more information on support services offered to veterans at USI, visit USI.edu/outreach/veterans.

Courtesy of Ben Luttrull, Media Relations Specialist, University of Southern Indiana

Published on August 10, 2016.

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