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Dental Pilot Project #100

Oregon Tribes Dental Health Aide Therapist Pilot Project


Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB)

Project Status

Dental Pilot Project #100 is near completion and is scheduled to conclude by May 31, 2023.

Purpose and Project Description

Develop a new category of dental personnel in Oregon and teach new oral health care roles to previously untrained individuals. NPAIHB will be utilizing the very successful Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) program that has been providing services in Alaska for the last 11 years. The Alaska DHAT program is modeled off the international model of dental nurses that have been providing oral health services in nearly 100 countries around the world. This modernization of the dental team has put DHATs on the frontlines in Alaska, wiping out decay and improving overall oral health in previously underserved tribal communities. We believe that those outcomes can be replicated in Oregon with the addition of a DHAT to the dental team at our pilot sites.
Select tribal communities in Oregon will send trainees to the DHAT program in Alaska to train as Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHAT). While these trainees are receiving their education (2 years), the tribal health directors and tribal leaders will work closely NPAIHB to create the necessary regulatory structure, train dentists to be DHAT supervisors, and do education and outreach to the community about the new provider. The DHAT program is an existing decade-old program in Alaska that provides an evidence based and competency-based curriculum. Skills are based on those required to be certified as a Dental Health Aide Therapist under the Alaska CHAP standards and procedures 2.30.200. One year prior to the graduation of the trainees, an experienced DHAT will come to the pilot site to begin offering services alongside the supervising dentist. When the DHAT trainee returns to his or her tribe to complete a minimum 400-hour preceptorship with the supervising dentist, the experienced DHAT will continue to serve the community and work as part of the dental team. After the trainee has completed the preceptorship, the experienced DHAT, the supervising dentist, and the newly trained DHAT will work together for at least one year. We intend in the first 3 years of the pilot project to educate a total of 5-7 DHAT trainees in up to 4 pilot sites and to have experienced DHATs working in each site during the training period of the DHAT trainees. As part of our yearly evaluation of the program, in year 3 we will evaluate the program with our pilot sites and make decisions at that point about whether or not we will add additional sites and trainees.

Key Documents

Site Visits Reports

Site Visits 2022
January 25th Final Report (pdf)

Site Visits 2019
November 6th Report (pdf) and Appendix (pdf)
May 22nd Report (pdf)

Site Visits 2018
September 20th Report (pdf)
May 22nd Report (pdf)
February 6th Report (pdf) and Appendix (pdf)

Site Visits 2017
September 11-12 Report (pdf) and Appendix (pdf)

Advisory Committee Meeting Materials

2022 Meetings
April 4th Agenda (pdf) and Meeting Materials (pdf)

2021 Meetings
June 14th Meeting Materials (pdf)

2020 Meetings
November 16th Meeting Materials (pdf) 
June 8th Meeting Materials (pdf)

2019 Meetings
December 16th Meeting Materials (pdf) 
September 23rd Meeting Materials (pdf) 
March 4th Meeting Materials (pdf)

2018 Meetings
December 3rd Meeting Materials (pdf) 
September 10th Meeting Materials (pdf) 
June 18th Meeting Materials (pdf) 
April 23rd Meeting Materials (pdf) 
February 5th Meeting Materials (pdf) 

2017 Meetings
November 6th Meeting Materials (pdf) 
September 25th Meeting Materials (pdf) 
June 14th Meeting Materials (pdf)

2016 Meetings
October 19th Meeting Materials (pdf) 

Additional Information

If you would like copies of documents associated with this project, including application review, public comments, project chronology, site visit reports, advisory committee meeting minutes, and more, please contact Sarah Kowalski at and these items will be made available to you.