Columbia Basin College dental hygiene students help 2,700 people each year who can’t afford to see a dentist.
Nearly all of the people who walk into the college’s low-cost clinic live below the poverty line and don’t have insurance to cover the costs of regular check-ups.
Now the college will be able to double the amount of patients during the next four years because of a $250,000 grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust. The trust provides grants across the Pacific Northwest to help strengthen education and culture.
“Dental hygiene is crucial to overall health and wellness, yet many people cannot afford these services,” said Steve Moore, the trust’s executive director. “By supporting CBC’s dental hygiene program, we are supporting students and promoting dental hygiene for the Richland community, so that every resident of the Pacific Northwest has the opportunity to flourish.”
The college is already moving from Pasco to a new location on the third floor of the Richland Medical Science Center on Northgate Drive after receiving a $480,000 grant from the Rural Families Education Fund.
The expansion will allow for at least four more spots for students in the college’s bachelor’s degree program, which currently only has room for 18 students. College officials sort through between 50 and 60 qualified applicants each year, said Tammy Sanderson, the program’s director.
Officials plan to be completely moved into the new location by next fall.
More people can get care
The money from the Murdock trust will pay for more equipment to serve people in need. With the expansion and increasing number of students, they expect to serve more than 4,500 people each year. The program provides X-rays, exams, cleanings, whitening trays and fluoride applications.
College officials are grateful for the trust’s support, President Rebekah Woods said.
“At CBC, we are always looking for ways to make improvements that positively impact our students, programs and community,” she said. “This grant will allow us to purchase new equipment for our clinic so we can educate more students and serve more community members.”
If you would like to know more about the clinic, call 509-542-4571.