DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Friday, February 7, in front of a crowd of more than 75 faculty, staff, dental employers, partners, and community members, Westwood College unveiled its new premier dental learning lab at the Denver North Campus that will serve as the foundation for Westwood’s new Dental Assisting Associate Degree program. To celebrate the opening with the community, dentists from Arbor Dental Group in Westminster as well as Dr. Sarah Meyer and Susan Cotten, the regional coordinator for the Oral Cancer Foundation were on hand to provide free dental screenings.
Westwood’s new lab contains four complete dental office stations, a complete sterilization station, a fully-equipped casting lab for dental impressions, and a panorex radiology station where students will learn to work with both digital and film X-ray technology. The lab can comfortably accommodate up to 24 students at once working in the four different areas. Design and construction of the project came from a team consisting of Doug Porter, Westwood V.P. of Real Estate; Jamie Field, Westwood Product Manager; Keith Sawarynski, Westwood Director of Program Development; Dan Snyder, Westwood Denver Market President; Carol Rykiel, Westwood Dental Assistant Program Chair; and the Hurtado Group project managers.
“We set out to design a lab that would resemble a modern, comprehensive professional dental office to give our students an advantage in learning the dental assistant profession, and we are proud of the result,” said Westwood President and Chief Marketing Officer Rick Yaconis. “We are really excited to have our first class of students jump in here and put this facility through its paces.”
After a brief presentation introducing the new learning lab that was led by Yaconis and Westwood CEO Dean Gouin, the dentists and dental assistants took advantage of the new equipment and provided community members and students from Lester Arnold High School free dental screenings to gauge general dental health.
“This is a wonderful facility and we are proud to be here,” said Arbor Dental Group Practice Manager Karry Urbalejo. “We know important work will go on here that will benefit our profession and we are so impressed with what Westwood has put together for this new program.”
In addition, Westwood with the help of Arbor Dental (www.arbordentalgroup.com) have developed a curriculum for the Dental Assisting Program that matches the new lab in excellence. On top of practical, hands-on skills students will learn in the lab, they will also learn all the soft skills needed to contribute to all facets of an operating dental practice.
“In my 23 years of working in the dental field, the one area I always hear students needed more development is in overall professionalism, and we will stress those skills,” said Program Chair Rykiel. “Our students will take college level math and English courses to sharpen their computer skills. When our students graduate with an Associate’s degree, they will have the needed technical skills, but more importantly, we will improve their interpersonal skill set so they will be able to solve problems and communicate more effectively.”
“I’m kind of obsessed with my teeth, so I thought this would be a great career for me,” said Westwood student Desiree Ewings. “The facility is really nice and I like that they are pushing us hard in the classroom.”
Westwood has eight students enrolled in its inaugural Dental Assistant class, which began in January and takes 17 months to complete. Enrollment is underway for the next class, which will begin in March. For more information, visit http://www.westwood.edu/programs/school-of-healthcare/dental-assisting-degree.
About Westwood College
Westwood College is an institution of higher learning with 14 campuses located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia. Westwood offers a hands-on, career-focused curriculum in fields such as healthcare, technology and business. Westwood is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). A 2012 survey conducted by Noel-Levitz showed Westwood students are significantly more satisfied than the comparison group of approximately 125 public and private colleges, particularly in the areas of course content, quality of instruction and the school meeting their career goals. For more information, visit www.westwood.edu.