Hygienist Lori Wood Certified to Bring Mobile Dental Services to Region
Lori Wood, a registered dental hygienist and Public Health Dental Hygiene Practitioner employed by the Together for Health Dental Center for over 10 years, is the first in her field in northeast Pennsylvania to become a certified Community Dental Health Coordinator (CDHC). The certification allows her to bring mobile dental health services to under-served areas in Wayne, Pike and Lackawanna counties. Her accomplishment also brought with it free portable dental equipment donated by the American Dental Association to be used in her work.
The CDHC certification, created as a pilot program by the American Dental Association in 2006, targets communities where residents have either limited or no access to dental care. Wood began offering services to children in December, but hopes to include adults in the near future. Visiting schools and other public sites, Wood is now providing preventative dental care and education and making referrals to dentists for treatment.
“Reaching out to those who have difficulty getting to the office or don’t have a dental home is an objective of the CDHC,” stated Wood. “Before this, the Together for Health Dental Center always did something for the community during the month of February, National Dental Health Month. However, with this program we can provide outreach all year around.”
The Together for Health Dental Center, part of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC), and Wood began partnering initially with area Head Start programs in Honesdale, Hawley, Bushkill and Carbondale. They are coordinating bi-annual onsite visits for children ages three to five at each respective Head Start location. Wood’s portable equipment includes a patient chair, compressor housing suction and hand pieces, as well as an x-ray machine. She is performing cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants and x-rays when deemed necessary. Services are billed to private insurance or medical assistance by the Together for Health Dental Center. Additionally, patients who qualify based on income may pay according to WMCHC’s sliding fee scale.
Frederick Jackson, executive director with WMCHC, lauded Wood on her accomplishment, noting it was no easy task. The 18-month process included one year of online education, clinical training at Temple University Dental School and a six-month internship providing outreach and education within the community.
“Lori does a fantastic job with parents and children alike,” said Jackson, “we are proud of her for her accomplishment and are excited to be involved with a new delivery of care within our community.”
Wood applied for the program at the urging of Vance Jones, DDS, a dentist at the Together for Health Dental Center and a member of the CDHC advisory board at Temple University.
“We weren’t sure if I would be accepted because the other students in the cohort were from large metropolitan areas like Philadelphia,” explained Wood. “However, based on the rural population we serve, I met the criteria.”
Jackson said the CDHC program “allows us to reach out to people who might not otherwise receive dental care. It’s really a plus for everyone.”
For more information on the Together for Health Dental Center, please call 570-251-6534. The Together for Health Dental Center is a part of WMCHC, a federally qualified health center clinically affiliated with Wayne Memorial Health System. For a list of services offered by WMCHC, visit us at www.WMH/wmchc.
Photo: Together for Health Dental Center staffers Vance Jones, DDS and Community Dental Health Coordinator Lori Wood, RDH, PHDH, are shown with new portable dental equipment donated to the Center by the American Dental Association upon Wood’s certification as a CDHC.