July 05, 2013
Maine AHEC (Area Health Education Center) Network, located at UNE under the guidance of Karen O'Rourke, MPH, director, and MaryFrances Smith, program manager, recently co-sponsored the Tribal Career Expo II aimed at exposing middle and high school Native American students in Washington County to the field of dental medicine.
Other sponsors of the expo were Maine Indian Education (MIE) and Elder Circle, LLC, of which Joseph Wolfberg serves as executive director.
One of the event’s highlights was the clinical dental simulator on current permanent loan from UNE’s School of Dental Medicine to AHEC’s Program Office. Students participated in hands-on experiences that included drilling teeth with an actual fiber optic drill and filling the cavity once all the decay was removed. Informal discussion took place with students on how to become a dental professional and the importance of math and science courses in secondary education.
The expo was held at the Wabanaki Cultural Center in Calais, Maine, and more than 100 students attended along with their teachers and other community partners. Students visited 20 booths ranging from local health centers to colleges to the tribal warden service and many others.
Maine AHEC's mission is to alleviate health workforce shortages in rural and underserved areas of the state. AHEC supports that effort by working with academic and community partners to:
• Provide rural, community-based clinical training experiences for medical and other health professions' students
• Encourage Maine youth and mid-career professionals to explore health careers
• Support practicing health professionals with continuing education and distance learning opportunities