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HGTC Receives Grant from the BlueCross® BlueShield® South Carolina Foundation to Enhance Dental Sciences Program

(Conway, SC) 02/29/2024

hgtc-community-dental-clinic HGTC Community Dental Clinic

Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) is thrilled to announce it has been awarded a grant from the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation to upgrade the Dental Sciences program's lab equipment. The grant, titled "Dental Sciences Lab Equipment," will enhance learning outcomes and skill development for dental assisting and dental hygiene students, ultimately addressing the oral health needs of the region.

The grant, awarded by the Foundation, will fund the upgrade of dental science labs at HGTC. The project, slated to begin on January 2, 2024, and conclude on December 31, 2024, aims to alleviate chronic barriers to oral health for vulnerable residents.

Horry and Georgetown counties face significant challenges in oral health, with a dental workforce shortage further exacerbating the issue. As the region's primary provider of postsecondary health and dental sciences training, HGTC plays a crucial role in addressing these challenges. The upgrade of dental labs will enhance student learning outcomes, promote retention, and produce highly trained graduates to fill the regional dental workforce shortage.

The grant will be used to upgrade dental science labs, focusing on digital radiography and clinical care preparation. Digital sensors and a dental manikin simulator will be added to provide students with hands-on experience and clinical competency. These enhancements will strengthen clinical skillsets, promote student retention, and better prepare graduates for the workforce.

The grant will directly benefit dental sciences students, of whom 54% are low-income, 38% are minorities, and 35% are first-generation college students. These upgrades align with the Foundation's oral health priorities and will contribute to the quality dental workforce needed to improve care outcomes in the region.

By early summer 2024, dental hygiene and dental assisting students will gain hands-on experience in digital radiography through access to two digital sensor sets.

By early summer and into fall 2024, dental hygiene and dental assisting students will elevate their clinical readiness through access to an additional stationary simulator.

By the end of spring 2024, HGTC dental science program students will successfully transition from simulation lab activities to clinical proficiency, supported by digital radiography and simulation manikins.

The upgrades will be implemented on the Grand Strand Campus.  The equipment purchase and installation will be completed within the spring 2024 semester, with enhanced lab activities utilizing the new equipment by the end of the same semester.

For more information about the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Dental Sciences, contact Professor Michelle Meeker at michelle.meeker@hgtc.edu or 843-839-1091. 

The BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation is an independent licensee of the BlueCross® BlueShield® Association.