The College of Central Florida has long
stood as a pillar of educational excellence in Marion County. Providing
first class learning but also a strong commitment to the community. Back in 2003
there was a need in our community for dental assistants, and at the same time
the Marion County Health Department had a challenge and trying to meet the
demands for their patient care and our students at the college of Central
Florida also wanting to get education in dental assisting. A short time later
the organization’s partnered to open the area’s first dental clinic powered by
County dental professionals, CF faculty, and students from the college’s
award-winning Dental Assisting Program. The dental assisting program is all
about learning skills, learning theories and giving service to others. Students
entering the year-long program start out in the classroom, and learn the basics of
dental assisting. Then they transition to a skills lab where theories are tested
and skills are perfected. When students become proficient they begin working
four hour shifts on the floor of the dental clinic. Assisting doctors and
providing basic care for real patients. For students this unique learning
opportunity provides a level of experience that’s not available in most
programs across the country. I know that the hands-on experience itself it does
help me work towards my goal and it gets me more focused on what I need to do to
help the patients. For many people in the community this is the only option.
Patient load with the Marion County dental clinic has grown by more than two
hundred fifty percent since doors opened at the CF location. If I didn’t have
these services I would not be able to afford the dental care that I need.
And being that my children need it like cavity fillings and things like that.
Because when we can create a good healthy oral environment for them and
good preventive care it changes their lives. Good job. so we’re not only
transforming the lives of the students, but we’re transforming the lives of the
patients as well. Since 2003 this partnership has brought quality dental
care to thousands in need, and produced hundreds of highly trained dental
assistants for the local workforce. I think this program helps to build a
strong community because the students are learning in the classes what it
means to be a community member and so class after class as we graduate students,
it is making a big impact and it’s changing the face of dentistry in our area.