2019-2020 Innovation of the Year Award Winner: Isothermal Community College

Dental Assisting Partnership With MAHEC and St. Luke's

Dental assistants (DAs) are paid well and are in high demand. The cost to start a DA program is often prohibitive to a community college. Isothermal Community College tackled the problem by reaching out to Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC), which serves Western North Carolina, and St. Luke's Hospital with a win-win-win proposal: to convert an old hospice facility into a new dental clinic, equipped with teaching space. MAHEC had plans to open a clinic in the area, so the St. Luke's facility and the college's need for training space fit the organization's mission perfectly. The renovation of the building took a year and the classes started in fall 2019. This project is a good example of a strategic alliance with community partners that has the effect of leveraging resources to create opportunities for students. Without this project, students would still have to face travel of more than an hour to receive this training.

Innovator: Dolly Horton

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