ICHS dental practice creates internships with local schools, including SCC's dental hygiene program

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Shoreline ICHS
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
The 37,000-square-foot International Community Health Services medical and dental clinic, located at 16549 Aurora Avenue North on a one-acre property, opened September 2014 as the first non-profit community health center in Shoreline.

Created to serve the needs of Asian Pacific Islanders, the doors are open to anyone.

The dental clinic is particularly important because very few low cost clinic are able to offer dental care.

The ICHS dental clinic has obtained grants to add dentists. With those additions, it has expanded its residency programs, adding Shoreline Community College dental hygienists this year.

The ICHS dental practice head is Dr. David Chen.

ICHS has three dental residency programs that service its Shoreline clinic and patients.

An AEGD (Advanced Education in General Dentistry) Residency program for dentists that is administered by the NYU / Lutheran Medical Center. This program, now nearing completion of its second year, allows dental school graduates from around the nation to hone their skills as general dentists under the guidance of our onsite faculty.

It is a one-year program hosting two residents per year. These are graduated students who are new dentists. ICHS is looking to add more residents as space and available faculty allow.

David Chen, DDS
ICHS Dental Director
University of Washington SLR Program. During this program, a fourth-year student spends five weeks with ICHS in an externship to gain clinical experience and skills outside of the school setting.

They are precepted by onsite faculty who are ICHS dentists. Students gain experience in dental restorations, extractions and dental cleanings. They are exposed to WIC and learn about the practice of health care in a community setting. ICHS sees approximately seven participants per year.

The Shoreline Community College Dental Hygiene Externship is a new program that started on April 4, 2017. Students from Shoreline Community College's Dental Hygiene Program gain hands-on experience treating patients.

"Like the UW residency, this is an externship experience in which the participants are still students," said David Chen, ICHS dental director. 
"They serve under the tutelage of one of our hygienists, Wayne Endo. Two externs come onsite one day a week for five weeks. There are two sets of externs per quarter. The program runs two quarters per year, so we expect a total of eight externs per year in this program with the option to add more in the future as space allows.
According to Chen, "The aim of the program is twofold. First it provides clinical contact time and experience for its participants to prepare them for work as hygienists outside of their school setting. In so doing, they get accustomed to the pace and requirements for real world dental hygiene. 
"Secondly, it benefits ICHS and organizations like ICHS in that it exposes students to community health. The goal is to introduce community health and public health to graduating students in the hopes that this will ensure a vibrant workforce that serves underserved communities in the future. 
"This is the main goal of all of our dental training programs -- educating and hopefully creating ethical and conscientious providers."

The program is still too new to predict whether it might lead to future hiring of its alumni students, but David feels its quite possible. "The current participants have expressed a love for working in this environment," he said.


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