Two gifts recently received by the Institute for Rural Health (IRH) at Western Kentucky University (WKU) will bring more dental and medical services to underserved Kentucky areas and provide WKU students real-life experiences as future health professionals.
A $50,000 gift from the Good Samaritan Foundation will allow the Institute replace existing equipment and add to the educational experiences of WKU students. Some of the equipment IRH plans to purchase includes a bone density machine, dental air compressor for portable field units, Isolite technology and CardioChek machines.
“Students who have access to the newest and best tools of their trade will be better equipped when they enter the workforce,” Hunt said. “This is essential to continue to provide the College of Health and Human Sciences students with the best educational experience and practical application.”
The Isolite system is dental technology that is placed in a patient’s mouth and serves multiple purposes, such as providing lighting, suction and other functions, said IRH Dental Director Daniel Carter. He indicated the newly purchased system will help students prepare better for their future in the workforce.
“Since we help to train students who will become dental hygienists, it is important that they are exposed to the latest technologies in the field of dentistry,” Carter said.
IRH also plans to use a portion of the money toward medical and dental needs for the community like flu shots, dental sealant and fluoride varnish program supplies.
IRH will use another gift recently provided by Delta Dental to purchase materials and supplies for the preventive and comprehensive dental programs offered by the IRH’s Mobile Dental Unit. The preventive program includes consists of a dental sealant program for second and seventh grade children and a fluoride varnish program for Head Start children within southcentral Kentucky. The comprehensive program offers limited definitive treatment (restorations and extractions) for adults at selected sites within the service area.
IRH Director Matt Hunt said the targeted patient population consists mainly of designated underserved and health professional shortage areas that have limited access to dental care. The service area also includes a low per capita income and high rate of poverty as compared to the U.S. average. IRH estimates it will provide dental services to more than 1,300 patients during the 2013-2014 fiscal year on its Mobile Dental Unit.
“With [these] generous gift[s], IRH will be able to continue this valuable and much needed service to rural Kentuckians,” Hunt said.
John Bonaguro, dean of WKU’s College of Health and Human Services, said the goal of IRH is to improve the health of residents in the community. He said the upgrades will help make IRH’s equipment more portable and will provide more than 1,200 doses of influenza vaccines to be given out for free to teachers, residents in public housing, seniors and for people in rural underserved areas.
IRH has been partnering with school districts, housing authorities, nonprofits and local and healthcare providers since 2001.
Source: Digital Edition of the College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University.