Bulletin of Dental Education

Dental Therapy Program at VTC on the Horizon

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The Vermont legislature passed S.20 in June 2016 permitting the practice of dental therapy. With the support of Vermont Technical College (VTC), Ellen B. Grimes, RDH, M.A., M.P.A., Ed.D., Program Director for the dental hygiene program at VTC, was integral to the passage of this bill. Following this success, Dr. Grimes applied for and obtained grant funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to hire a dentist to develop a dental therapy program. After an extensive search, VTC hired Vermont native Cheyanne E. Warren, M.S., D.D.S., in May 2017. After many renditions, a dental therapy master’s degree curriculum was developed and accepted as a new program in March by the VTC administration and the Vermont State College Board of Trustees. 

Dr. Warren has continued to apply for grants and recently was awarded a new grant by Community Catalyst, a national organization working toward quality affordable health care for all. Dr. Warren also applied for an oral health workforce grant from HRSA and received notification in July that VTC was awarded this grant as well, amounting to $400,000 annually for the next four years, pending federal government appropriations. This funding will provide the funding needed for VTC to launch the dental therapy program. These costs will include building a simulation lab, partnering with Federally Qualified Health Centers to serve as community rotation sites, developing a distance education program to help train dental therapy students in Maine, and submitting the final curriculum plan and accreditation documentation to the Commission on Dental Accreditation as soon as possible. VTC is on track to begin its first class of future dental therapists in May 2020. 

Submitted by Cheyanne Warren, M.S., D.D.S., Vermont Technical College

Published on September 12, 2018

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