Health Occupations (HOTT)
Health Occupations for Today and Tomorrow
By Halley Lee, South Dakota Department of Health
Did you know that by the year 2012, nearly 11,000 additional healthcare workers, including dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists, will be needed in South Dakota? Did you know that there will be a 21% decrease in the number of high school graduates by the school year 2012/2013? Did you know that by the year 2025, South Dakota will have the 9th highest proportion of elderly nationally? Scary statistics, aren't they? So...are you ready? Do you know what these stats actually mean? Simply speaking, they mean that as our baby boomers retire and leave the healthcare workforce they are subsequently aging, requiring additional healthcare services. At the same time, there are fewer and fewer high school graduates available to replace them in the workforce.
To address this looming crisis, the SD Departments of Education, Health, and Labor along with the Board of Regents, have created a new program to address the critical need for healthcare workers in the state. Health Occupations for Today and Tomorrow (HOTT) focuses on health career education for elementary, middle and secondary students. HOTT offers students opportunities to learn about and experience healthcare career pathways such as medicine, dentistry, nursing, and allied health.
So...do you know what you can do to be sure you have an adequate dental workforce to meet the crisis head-on? For starters, watch for an exciting new educational opportunity created just for the dental workforce. The Office of Rural Health, in conjunction with the South Dakota Dental Association, has created a fun activity for dental professionals to use in making presentations to schools and youth groups. Students will sharpen up on their dental care facts and learn about dental careers when you introduce them to the interactive game Dental Jeopardy! Dental Jeopardy provides a presenter with an innovative approach to educating students on preventive dental care, as well as the careers associated with oral care. The first version of this activity is available on the HOTT website (see below) under the "Lesson Plans" area.
For more information on Dental Jeopardy or on the HOTT initiative in general, contact Halley Lee, South Dakota Department of Health at 605-773-6320 or visit the website at http://healthcareers.sd.gov/.