Mile Square Dental Certificate Program Brings Access to Health Professional Pathways
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Similarly, Latasha Tucker, a current dental assistant at the MSHC South Shore clinic, spoke very passionately about her experience. “I feel that the biggest and most rewarding part of our job is knowing that the patients trust us and rely on us for comfort and for not judging them, she said. “Most patients might not be comfortable at first or a little reluctant because of personal insecurities that have built up over years, so we help ease that fear.”
Tucker continued, “A big plus is that I live in the area in which our clinics are located so even when I am not at work, I see my patients at the store or even on the streets, and so we have built a relationship of trust that has been missing in their experiences with the health care system. Patients have been so kind in letting us know how much they appreciate us, how we treated them with care and respect, and how we fixed their smile, so now their self-esteem is high. This is what giving back to the community means and it just fills me with so much joy.”
When asked about the range of services provided and their patient demographics, Dr. Etminan shared that their services cover many critical needs. Mile Square has a pediatric dentist on staff. They also offer nitrous sedation, crowns and dentures. Additionally, they have a cancer survivorship program for all UI Health cancer patients offering them free dental care at the clinic. They also receive patients from other community health centers because of Mile Square’s continually expanding scope of care. An example of the team’s deep understanding of the lack of basic services in the communities that surround them, the department had started a food pantry for people in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
As a whole, the Mile Square Dental Assistant Certificate Program serves as a model community-focused program that listens to the needs of our local neighborhoods and develops real-time solutions to benefit the lives of our communities across Chicago and beyond. Through providing pathway opportunities for community members, to offering trusted healthcare services for patients in need, this program is making a difference.