The trip was part of the International Externship Program which provides students the opportunity to travel outside the United States and provide dental care in nontraditional settings and within new cultures.
Six students and two faculty members from Oregon Institute of Technology’s dental hygiene program in Klamath Falls traveled to Whitehouse, Jamaica in September 2018 to provide dental care to underserved populations in rural areas.
The trip was part of the International Externship Program (IEP) which provides students the opportunity to travel outside the United States and provide dental care in nontraditional settings and within new cultures. The goal is to not only provide much needed dental care to people in need, but also provides students an opportunity to develop confidence, skills, and a passion for community service. As dental hygienists these skills can benefit them in future work settings such as public health, dental missions, rural health and mobile dentistry. This is a commitment by each team member as they must each raise $2,700 through private funds, donations and a lot of fundraising.
Each day teams were met with hundreds of people seeking dental care. Externship organizer, Jeannie Bopp, is a clinical instructor for the program. “The people were gracious and appreciative of any treatment provided,” said Bopp. “The overwhelming need was a learning experience for the students as people would arrive at 4 a.m. and wait outside until the end of the day hoping to receive care.”
Team members for this 2018 Jamaica experience were Crystal Anderson, Stacy Bicknell, Haylie Hough, Yeimi Montano, Brittni Rogers, Sierra Shuey, and faculty were Jenny McKeen and Jeannie Bopp.
Services provided during their week of providing care totaled 719 patients receiving:
- 258 fillings
- 273 dental cleanings
- 418 extractions
- 37 sealants
- 198 fluoride treatments
The 2019 team has been selected and consists of 11 students who will be traveling with instructors to another part of Jamaica in August 2019.
To learn more about dental hygiene majors at Oregon Tech or about our Dental Hygiene clinic, call 541.885.1277 or visit www.oit.edu/academics/degrees/dental-hygiene.