Dental programs

Dental programs tour June 2014

Incoming dental hygiene freshmen Paulette Hachey, Jessica Charron and Monica Kwan check out an operatory during a tour of MWCC’s new dental programs center in Fitchburg.

MWCC’s dental programs moved to spacious, new quarters in June, giving students, faculty and patients plenty to smile about.

The dental programs are now located at 326 Nichols Road in Fitchburg, adjacent to the original site at HealthAlliance Hospital, Burbank campus. The new facility is housed within the Community Health Connections’ newly opened, $20 million Fitchburg Family Community Health Center and continues a long-standing partnership with CHC that enables students to work with dentists and patients.

“It’s new and a pleasant, professional and inviting environment that welcomes students and patients alike,” said dental programs Director Anne Malkasian. “It’s a nice, welcoming facility to deliver good quality care in.”

The new space accommodates the growing dental programs, Malkasian said. In addition to containing the program’s seven operatories used for patient care, the new facility provides a larger classroom, designated space for space a dental materials lab, a library, offices and storage.

Students enrolled in the college’s part-time, evening dental assisting program will begin using the new facility this summer. Second-year dental hygiene students and freshmen entering the full-time, dental hygiene program in September had the opportunity to tour the new site on June 18 during their program orientation.

“The building is beautiful and we’ve all been very excited to start our second year here,” said continuing student Tasey Lemieux of Gardner.

Paulette Hachey of Fitchburg, who began her academic studies at MWCC as an English as a Second Language student, is excited to begin her dental hygiene program in the new facility this fall.

“It’s beautiful in here. It looks more like a dentist’s office than a school.

Malkasian, who plans to retire in the fall, said the move to the new location was a rewarding chapter in her career. She praised the CHC and its new chief executive officer, John DeMalia, for bringing the project to fruition and enhancing medical care for area residents.

“This is the medical and dental home for thousands of patients and it’s nice to have a beautiful facility for them,” she said.

During the past academic year, students in MWCC’s dental programs conducted fundraisers to contribute to the Community Health Connections Homestretch campaign to provide for additional clinical space and other building improvements. For more information about the campaign, visit www.thehomestretchcampaign.org.

Dental Hygiene pinning 2014 awards

Dental Programs Director Anne Malkasian with this year’s award recipients Whitney Fox, Jennifer LePage, Brigitte Wong, and Bonnie Buckingham-Stone.

Graduates of MWCC’s Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs were welcomed into the profession during the department’s annual pinning ceremony on May 16 in the Raymond M. Lafontaine Fine Arts Center theatre.

Dr. Melissa Fama, vice president of Academic Affairs, and Anne Malkasian, program director, congratulated the graduates on their achievement.

“Nelson Mandela once said, ‘There is no passion to be found in playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’  I hope that you will not see today as an end to your education but a beginning. I hope that you will embrace lifelong learning and advance yourself to your highest potential,” Malkasian told the graduates.

“We are reminded daily and most recently in the media, of the injustices in the world, in Nigeria especially, where more than 300 young girls have been abducted simply because they are pursing education,” she continued. “Let this act be a reminder to us all, how precious our liberty is, to follow our dreams in this great country, this state and in this institution – of Mount Wachusett Community College.”

Malkasian, who is retiring this summer after years of expanding the successful program, was recognized by the students and faculty for her dedication and leadership.

Government Affairs consultant Charles Glick, who met the students during their annual visit to the State House to advocate for legislative changes in the dental profession, was the keynote speaker. As government affairs consultant to American Dental Hygiene Association Massachusetts, Glick serves as a “cheerleader” of sorts for the dental hygiene profession and coach to legislators on the impact of regulations, he said.

“I have learned so much over the course of the last few years. I am now able to do root planing and scaling. Just kidding! Seriously, I have learned that dental hygienists and dental assistants are educators. You educate people in the prevention of a disease that is fully preventable.  You aren’t just putting sharp instruments into people mouths, though you are well qualified to do that, you are treating the whole person. You are health coaches encouraging people to do the things they need to do when they go home. You are clinicians, educators, advocates, managers and researchers, in order to prevent oral disease and promote health.”

MWCC’s Dental Programs Pinning Ceremony will take place Friday, May 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center. Graduates of the Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting program will be pinned.