Hands-on learning is what Wichita State’s dental hygiene clinic is all about.
Built in 1980 and housed in Ahlberg Hall, the clinic is equipped to handle 20 patients at one time. Juniors and seniors in WSU’s dental hygiene program, which is chaired by assistant professor Denise Maseman, provide such patient care as cleaning and x-rays.
It is a key part of their grade to schedule and see patients during three-and-a-half-hour time periods on open clinic dates. With clinic hours available for appointments Monday-Thursday of each week, the clinic serves both young and old, notes clinic manager Carol Trent.
“We have WSU students and senior citizens come in,” she says, “or people with low income levels who’ve been referred to the clinic by their own dentist.” Four dentists are on staff to oversee the students’ work and discuss care with patients.
Wichita State boasts the largest of three dental hygiene programs in Kansas and currently accepts 30 students a year into the five-semester program. Thanks in part to a grant from the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, Hutchinson, Kan., plans are under way to increase that number to 36, beginning in 2005.
But first, explains Lynette Murphy, director of development with the WSU Foundation, additional funds for a Kansas Dental Association-endorsed renovation of the on-campus clinic must be raised: “Our goal is to raise $1.13 million to renovate the clinic and establish an endowment to fund clinical salaries permanently. Nearly $200,000, not counting the UMHMF grant, has been raised so far.”
Among numerous fund-raising initiatives, Murphy reports, is the ongoing effort by members of the local dental community to secure funding to name the clinic or one of its components for Amy Hollingsworth Blase, a 1999 graduate of the program who died in 2003. She was the daughter of dentist Jack Hollingsworth, who is a member of the Wichita District Dental Society. The society has pledged $15,000 in this effort.