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Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Dentist and Dental Hygienist Careers

Public Health Dentistry — Career News & Information, IHS Impressions, IHS Division of Oral Health, Opportunity Adventure Purpose
Quarterly Newsletter Vol. 5, Issue 1
Indian Health Service – A Unique Career Fit  

Ask an Indian Health Service (IHS) dentist or dental hygienist to describe a typical workday and you’ll discover there’s no such thing. Every day is different and the experience is best described as an adventure. The word “ordinary” isn’t in the vocabulary when you’re living and working in some of the most beautiful locations in the country with Native people and cultures rich in tradition.

The staff of Impressions asked two IHS dentists and a dental hygienist to describe what it’s like to work in IHS facilities and live among Native people. LT Ben Brown, DDS, a USPHS Commissioned Corps officer, works at the Warm Springs Dental Clinic in Warm Springs, Oregon. An IHS dentist for six months, he says his days are never boring and are filled with learning experiences.

LT Ben Brown, DDS
“I wanted to live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and I was very optimistic when I arrived at Warm Springs. This is quite different from anywhere else I’ve lived. The atmosphere is relaxed, both at work and in the Tribal community. There are three Tribes here – the Wasco, the Warm Springs and the Paiute – and I’m learning about their cultures and traditions. I’ve gone to social gatherings and pow-wows, and I sometimes hear Native languages spoken.

“On a typical day, I do extractions and operative procedures on patients of all ages. Some mornings I’ll take walk-ins – mostly emergency patients – and the rest of the day I have regular treatment plans scheduled. Read the full article ».

LCDR Colleen White, MPH
“I’m the Perio Prevention Officer at Gallup, supervising two other dental hygienists. We’re responsible for dental prevention programs, such as providing sealants and fluoride varnishes for children from kindergarten through 8 th grade, and cleaning and preventive services for mostly adult diabetic patients. I also work with pre-natal women, and I like being able to take care of whole families. Between the clinical work and community activities, there’s a lot of variety in my work.

“In private practice, where patients tend to be healthier, I almost felt like I wasn’t providing those patients much of a service. But at IHS, there are so many people with so many health care needs, and I can really make a different in their health. I motivate people to take better care of themselves, and when patients totally change their habits, it’s a great success. Read the full article ».

Dr. Cynthia Edwards, DDS
“I was in my 30s when I started dental school. After 15 years in solo practice – being a dentist and a business person – I decided public health dentistry was what I wanted to do. There’s always been a part of me that wanted to help people who really are in need.

“This is the first time I’ve worked with a group of people who are fairly isolated. I’m still feeling my way around the community, introducing myself to people, visiting the churches on the reservation. It’s so interesting – they sing Amazing Grace in the Lakota language. The Lakota Sioux are a very loving people with big hearts. They realize the importance of the work we do and really appreciate it. They make an effort to make me feel comfortable and welcome – I know they want me to stay here. Read the full article ».

Ben, Colleen and Cynthia are just three of the 550 Indian Health Service dentists and dental hygienists who are experiencing the rewards and satisfaction of a public health career, caring for the needs of underserved communities in fascinating, picturesque locales. Are you ready for the adventure? For more information about IHS Division of Oral Health, visit: www.dentist.ihs.gov .


IHS Snap Facts

$3.3M Funding for 2007 IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

143 IHS Dentists receiving LRP in 2006

34 First time LRP awards in 2006

$24K Maximum Individual Annual Award

YES IHSLRP Awards are still available

IHS Loan Repayment Information at www.dentist.ihs.gov

Instant News

IHS Connects with You
Dental Recruitment List Serv

Keep in touch with IHS dental happenings on the New Dental Recruitment List Serv. To join the Dental Recruitment List Serv, click on this email link Subscribe and type your name in the appropriate space in the text, and click on send. Or visit www.dentist.ihs.gov and follow the instructions on the website.

Recruiting Corner — At Your Place

4/28/07 - 4/30/07 Minnesota Star of the North– Dental Convention
5/4/07 Mt. Hood Community College – RDH Presentation
5/11/07 University of Alabama – ASDA Exhibitor’s Fair
5/15/07 Columbia University – Lunch & Learn
5/25/07 Portland Community College – RDH Presentation

More information at: Recruiter Page

Interested in a Lunch & Learn or an IHS WebForum for your school?
Contact Timothy Lozon, DDS Timothy.Lozon@ihs.gov

IHS Division of Oral Health On-line

Timothy L. Lozon, DDS
Toll Free : 800-IHS-DENT (447-3368)
Direct: 301-443-0029
IHS Division of Oral Health PHS - Indian Health Services - 1955 Department of Health & Human Services