Story and photo by Collin Berend
Clackamas Community College is partnering with an outreach dental clinic to provide free dental services.
On April 22, the Harmony campus will open a one-day free dental clinic where, under instructor supervision, Clackamas Community College students will assist students from Oregon Health and Science University with fillings, cleanings and extractions. This is in association with the one-day Compassion Tigard Clinic, which gets many patients, and they send the overflow to the Harmony campus.
Starting at Tigard High School, patients will be triaged, such as if they have a toothache, and then will be transported to the Harmony campus on a shuttle, much like the ones that traverse from the Clackamas Town Center to the main campus or from Wilsonville.
Upon that, patients will get an X-ray of said problem with the teeth.
The clinic that provides this free service is through Compassion Connect, which is a Christian organization that collaborates with churches.
“I think it’s really beneficial to students, especially for those who can’t afford insurance or to get on with the state,” said Kellie O’Grady, officer of grants for the Associated Student Government.
There are several students who have jobs on campus to bring in extra money for rent or other expenses, such as Tyler Sylvia, who cashiers at the student bookstore.
“Through my insurance, I basically get everything covered—every penny of my medical expenses covered. But, I mean, that’s going to end soon,” said Sylvia. “I totally support every student getting even checkups.”
Students, like Sylvia, consider the Tigard commute an inconvenience, but worth it in the bigger picture. Some, however, disagree, such as student Taylor Bass.
“I’m sure those people are like ‘Oh yes, OK, I’ll make that drive if I can get this done,’ because if they don’t then they’ll never get it done,” said Bass. “And that can cost more than a drive to Tigard.”
This partnership is not only a benefit for students who need dental work, but it also provides Clackamas dental assistant students direct hands-on training.
“Last year we saw 20 patients,” said Maria Corona, the dental assistant program director. Corona said that the Compassion Tigard event likely had around 100 patients.
Through the partnership, Harmony supplies the clinic, according to Corona.
Dental assistant students need work experience and often go out to clinics to get it, but by providing a clinic such as this at the Harmony campus, students can get their hands-on experience in the classroom.
While this is generally a one-day event that occurs once a year, Corona is trying to get this to happen more often. There is a possibility of it happening twice a month, according to Jarett Gilbert, the director of health science.
For those wishing to get the chance at a free cleaning or any of the other two procedures, Compassion Tigard highly suggests arriving early. The event starts at 8 a.m. and goes until 3 p.m. at Tigard High School.