Hudson Mohawk AHEC Connects 

Dental Professionals to Continuing Education

Lottie M. Jameson, MS, HM AHEC Program Coordinator

 

So many Continuing Education (CE) hours needed, and so little time. What's a dentist or dental hygienist to do? Close the office? If so, for how long? A day? A week? How much will that cost? Couldn't CE be a little easier, a little less expensive, or at least a little more convenient?

 

One of the main goals of the Hudson Mohawk Area Health Education Center (HM AHEC) is to provide continuing education programs to health professionals working in medically undeserved communities, whether urban or rural. There are two population Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) in the HM AHEC service area, involving six of its 10 counties. A Dental HSPA is a geographic area, population group or facility determined to have a shortage of dental health professionals. The Upper Hudson Low Income Dental HPSA includes portions of Essex, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. Central Schenectady City is another Low Income Dental HPSA in Schenectady County.

 

In an effort to increase education and training opportunities in undeserved areas, Hudson Mohawk AHEC is connecting dental professionals from its 10 county service area with the University at Buffalo Dental School's "Dental CE Cafe." This six session, live videoconference series is held on Wednesday evenings from 6pm-9pm, April-June. HM AHEC offered participants their choice of three sites: the National Kidney Foundation in the Albany area, the HM AHEC office in Glens Falls, and Elizabethtown Community Hospital in Essex County. Topics included "Facial Pain Management in General Practice," "Dental Restorative Aspects of Glass Ceramics" and "What's New in Dental Office Infection Control and Safely." Attendees have the opportunity to ask the presenter questions throughout the session, making this a truly interactive learning opportunity.

 

Distance learning allows dentists and dental hygienists to continue seeing patients and meet their CE requirements, all while remaining close to home. One dentist commented that "this is so convenient- allowing me to keep my office open!" HM AHEC is committed to providing easily accessible learning opportunities to health professionals with their video conferencing equipment and connection with AANet (Adirondack Area Network). This initiative is collaborative, with many partners working together to improve the oral health of the community.