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New Dental Assistant Training Program Launches at Ellen Jones Community Dental Center

9th July 2021

Thanks To Support from Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, New Program Offers Opportunity to Community

Harbor Health has launched a new Dental Assistant Trainee* program at Ellen Jones Community Dental Center in Dennis. With support from Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, the new DAT program welcomed the first two trainees Hayanne Silva and Yasmin Roar to the dental center in March. They will complete their training by the end of the summer.

Dental assistants are essential to caring for our patients at all of Harbor Health’s dental practices. Dental assistants help with a variety of health care tasks, from taking dental x-rays to recording treatment information to supporting dentists with managing dental emergencies.

Due to the nationwide shortage of qualified dental assistants, dental assisting is an in-demand profession.

One of our biggest challenges in our dental program is finding qualified dental assistants to work in Hyannis and Dennis.

Many of the things we do in a dental office require four hands, so not having the extra two skilled hands means we may not be able to help as many patients in need of care.

Responding to the Challenge, Helping the Community

Harbor’s dental care team decided to build on the 20 years of experience they had teaching dental assisting students at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School at Ellen Jones Community Dental Center and developed a new on-the-job training program open to the community.

Dental Assistant Trainees learn and practice chairside dental assisting, CPR, how to safely take radiographs, infection control, patient management, and dental safety protocols.

Thanks to Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation, Harbor was able to launch the DAT program during the pandemic and offer additional assistance to trainees with paying for required exams and additional training classes. The support from Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation has been essential to the goals of DAT program to add essential dental staff and bring new opportunities to residents in need of year-round jobs on Cape Cod.

“Good oral health is essential to our overall health and wellness. We are proud to support the Ellen Jones Community Dental Centers’ Dental Assistant Training program that will not only increase access to dental services in our community, but also develop our region’s health care workforce and provide stable, year-round jobs on Cape Cod,” said Michael K. Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare.

According to Dr. Matthew Horan, Executive Director of Dental Services at Harbor, “We wanted remove barriers for interested people from the community who might be interested in starting a healthcare career as a dental assistant but may lack mentorship or the funds to pursue their interest.”

“We are addressing a chronic workforce shortage challenge head-on, by responding in truly mission-driven way that promotes opportunity for employment within our community and aids in serving our patients unmet needs.”

The Dental Assistant Trainee Experience


Dental assistant trainees Hayanne and Yasmin at work at Ellen Jones Community Dental Center.

 The DAT program’s first trainees Chayanne Silva and Yasmin Roar are currently working at Ellen Jones Community Dental Center alongside the dental care team. Once their training is complete, they will move ahead with the process of getting their license.

“When I decided to apply for the program, I had no idea what to expect, because I never had any experience with dental before, but I can say that I’m very thankful that I was accepted as this program went beyond all my expectations,” said Hayanne.

“I’m confident that the knowledge and abilities from this program qualifies me to be the successful dental assistant I want to be.”

Yasmin explained she had moved from another country looking for stability for herself and family. She credits the DAT program with giving her a positive outlook.

“I can see a brilliant future for me, and I am sure all the techniques and lessons will be applied daily. I appreciate all the knowledge the team has been teaching me.”

Harbor has opened the program to new applicants. Please visit Join Our Team to look for the Dental Assistant Trainee position postings and apply.

*Note: The Dental Assistant Trainee program at Harbor Health is not a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) recognized program. Dental Assistants produced by the program are not “formally trained”, but our goal is that they will meet all requirements for licensure from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry via the on-the-job training pathway.