Dental Program Longevity and Improvements

Southcentral Foundation Dental is all smiles in their department photo, taken at the Nuka Learning and Wellness Center.

Opening with just 11 chairs and seven employees, Southcentral Foundation Dental has come a long way since its humble beginnings. In the 34 years since SCF Dental began operations, services moved from a confined space in a small building with minimal staff, to 17 clinics, 69 chairs, and almost 250 employees, including 23 hygienists. Out of all of these dental employees, 53 have been with SCF between 10 and 20 years, four between 20 and 30 years, and one for 33 years. Which, aside from being remarkable, begs the question: What is it about SCF Dental that has kept these employees around for such a significant amount of time?

Dr. Wendell Wright was the first dentist hired by Dr. Kevin Gottlieb, Vice President of Resource and Development at SCF. Gottlieb hired Wright to work at the old dental clinic on Fireweed Lane, in 1985. “The customer-owners are great. I have worked on some of these people for many years and have a long history with them,” said Wright. “SCF is a wonderful place to work because of its people and the fact that it has emerged as a very well organized corporation that places its customer-owners first.”

Another long-time employee, Rochelle Hanschen, manages the Fireweed Dental Clinic, and started at SCF as a dental assistant in 1987. Her early years were important to her because she witnessed the changes that occurred throughout those years, which set the foundation for the quality of care that the dental team provides. “Dental providers and staff are often assisting customer-owners beyond oral health care, and routinely go above and beyond to help with other concerns, medical or otherwise,” Hanschen commented.

An employee since 1994, Dental Assistant Supervisor Marie Hammons stated that the dentists at SCF are “a hard working group of people who you see going above and beyond on a daily basis to help customer-owners with their total health care.” Dental Administrator Mayquelle Buckley has enjoyed working with SCF since 1996 because she loves serving customer-owners, “I feel like I make a real difference; I am a dental assistant at heart and really enjoy being there for our customer-owners.”

Based on customer-owner feedback, SCF Dental has continually made improvements since its doors opened in 1984: improved access for the adult population; advanced services for school-aged children, like orthodontics and orthognathic surgery; and special needs clinics like cleft lip and palate, and dental clinics in rural communities. In addition to expanding access to care, the dental program has utilized advancements in technology that include digital radiographs, digital impressions, computer charting, endodontic (root canal) equipment, implants, and more. The newest development is the Children’s Dental Clinic, which will add 32 chairs and expects to open in fall 2018, located in the new Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact SCF Dental in Anchorage at (907) 729-2000 or in the Valley at (907) 631-7690.

by Riley Stewman

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