Peninsula College receives federal funds for dental hygiene program

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College has received $1.963 million for a dental hygienist program it is planning to start.

The funds announced Friday are part of nearly $242 million in Congressionally directed spending for projects in Washington state secured by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Dental hygienists are a critical part of our health care system, but there is a serious shortage of hygienists in rural and Tribal communities,” Murray said in a statement. “This is especially true for the Olympic Peninsula, and Peninsula College is trying to solve this problem themselves while investing in their community.

“I’m glad I could secure this $1.9 million for Peninsula College because I have no doubt it will make help make people’s lives better. These funds will not only address the shortage issue in Port Angeles and surrounding communities, it will create good-paying jobs and help keep the people who call the Olympic Peninsula home healthy.”

“Paula Watson [dental hygiene program director] and Mia Boster [dean of workforce education] have been working very hard to develop the curriculum in partnership with dentists in the community,” Peninsula College President Suzy Ames said in a statement. “This funding was the last piece we needed prior to seeking approval from the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

“We don’t know yet when the program will start due to the lengthy accreditation process, but we are on our way. This program will make such a difference across the whole North Olympic Peninsula.”

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