Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) in Kirkland, WA, has a long history of successfully preparing future dental hygienists for the workforce. The college plans to expand its program offerings within the next year and make improvement to its clinical facilities as well as acquire new equipment.
Program Changes and New Partnerships
LWTech is developing a new fast-track evening hybrid dental assisting program to meet the workforce demand. Anticipated to start in fall 2022, the new program may create an opportunity to coordinate with the Washington Network for Innovative Careers (WANIC) program’s Dental Assisting program. The college is also looking to collaborate with its high school programs, which are part of the college community, and its Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) program.
LWTech also plans a future expansion of its daytime dental hygiene program from 30 to 40 students per year, in addition to creating an innovative evening hybrid program. The evening program will be piloted with 16 students to start, for a total of 56 dental hygiene graduates in the first year. This program will also help meet the workforce deficit.
The college is also forming new community partnerships to increase patient access to care and further advance student learning opportunities. The opportunities include the Snohomish County Community Health Clinics partnership as well as an array of programs for Catholic Community Services to serve the needs of individuals, children, families and communities struggling with poverty and the effects of intolerance and racism. The college is working to form partnerships with them to provide dental hygiene education and oral health care.
LWTech also conducted outreach to the EvergreenHealth system to form an interprofessional collaboration that integrates a team-based approach to improve oral and systemic health outcomes in relation to understanding the connection between oral health and systemic disease. Outreach also took place within the college with the Veterans Center and Workforce Development to create a partnership for retraining individuals for careers in dental hygiene and/or dental assisting. The partnership would also extend to providing dental hygiene and dental assisting services to veterans and persons associated with the workforce program.
Dental Hygiene Facility to Expand, Improve
LWTech is undergoing a full renovation of its dental hygiene facility to expand. The student clinic and restorative clinic will have new operatories with the latest clinical technology. A simulation lab with manikins and closed-captioning monitors will allow students to practice instrumentation and restorative skills while following along with live demonstrations from their faculty. Dedicated dental hygiene and dental assisting classrooms with computers will allow for hyflex attendance.
The dental hygiene program received a generous donation of $25,000 from the LWTech Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the college, for the renovation and expansion project. Funding for new equipment was provided for three Lexa sterilization units and a digital sensor, both of which are vital for successful diagnostics and treatment in the dental clinic.
Courtesy of Kellie Whitcomb, M.S.D.H., Associate Dean of Instruction, Dental Hygiene, at Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Published on Nov. 10, 2021