Missouri dental hygiene program reaches out to Hispanics

Students in the new Dental Hygiene Education program at Missouri College are learning more than how to clean teeth, take x-rays, and address oral health issues. They will also be taught to speak "Medical Spanish" to prepare them to communicate with the growing Hispanic population locally and across the U.S., according to the college.

The Spanish for Healthcare Professionals coursework is a new joint academic program developed by Missouri College and Saint Louis University (SLU) Doisy College of Health Sciences. The program is offered to health profession students at Missouri College and to Doisy College, Nursing, School of Medicine, and Public Health students at SLU.

"Our partnership with Missouri College in developing the Medical Spanish course can definitely lead to better outcomes for Spanish-speaking patients," said Charlotte Royeen, Ph.D., dean of the Doisy College of Health Sciences, in a press release. "We understand the need to eliminate health disparities and build partnerships to enhance education and service."

The Dental Hygiene Education program at Missouri College was launched in April 2009. It is separate from a dental assistant degree program that the college has operated for more than 30 years.

Missouri College is also opening a free dental clinic at its campus in Brentwood in November that will serve qualified, low-income individuals. Dental hygiene students will work in the clinic under the supervision of dentists and dental hygiene faculty members.

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