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Sunday, May 19, 2024

VPCC Re-Examining Dental Hygiene Program, Closing Dental Clinic at Historic Triangle Campus

VPCC
Virginia Peninsula Community College, Historic Triangle Campus. (Stephanie Sabin/WYDaily)

WILLIAMSBURG — Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC) said it is reimagining and rebuilding its Dental Hygiene program, and as part of the process, is closing its Dental Clinic at the Historic Triangle Campus in Williamsburg effective May 15.

The program is in the first year of a two-year non-enrollment period, according to the college.

The Local College Board agreed to support a decision to voluntarily withdraw VPCC’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), the college said, to allow time to reassess the Dental Hygiene program by working with other schools within Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS).

Although the college did not enroll new students in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 academic years, officials emphasized VPCC is not discontinuing its Dental Hygiene program at this time. College officials explained they are collaborating with Germanna, Northern Virginia, and Virginia Western community colleges to create and submit a proposal to the VCCS chancellor to support a system-wide, sustainable model for dental hygiene programs.

College officials assured the community VPCC will continue to be a viable career pathway for aspiring dental professionals and other healthcare-focused individuals.

VPCC remains a great place for students to start their journey,” said Michelle Alexander, interim dean of Public Safety, Allied Health, and Human Services.

Students are program-placed in Health Science, which provides the necessary pre-requisite courses for other Dental Hygiene programs nearby, including Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University, it said.

“The Health Science program also provides a foundation for other allied health and health science pathways for students who wish to change their career trajectory without having to start over in another program. We encourage students to work with their academic adviser to make the best plan for completion” Alexander added.

As for services provided to the community through the Dental Clinic, the college said it recognizes the importance of accessible dental services and remains committed to supporting community members in accessing quality healthcare. College officials encourage individuals seeking dental care to visit dental service providers of their choice or consider community clinic partners at the Lackey Clinic in Yorktown or the Olde Town Medical Center in James City County.

Those who received dental care at VPCC’s clinic from 2018 to present may request their dental records by completing the Dental Records Release form available at vpcc.edu/health.  Former patients must email their completed forms to dentalhygieneclinic@vpcc.edu for processing.

Virginia Peninsula Community College said it is proud to have provided quality dental care at its clinic for more than a decade while training students to become dental professionals, and officials added they appreciate the community’s understanding and support during this transition period.

College leaders continue researching possibilities for reopening the clinic in the future, VPCC said, and updates about potential reopening will appear on VPCC’s website and via collegewide announcements moving forward should any new developments occur.

Former patients and students may direct questions or concerns about the Dental Clinic closure to the Public Safety, Allied Health and Human Services (PSAHHS) division at 757-825-2808 or email psahhs@vpcc.edu.

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