Melat Guta-Butler

“Many people in my family have problems with their teeth, and I want to help make a change for them. A friend at El Centro told me about the program, and I applied for it and was accepted. I’ve learned a lot of things even in the short time since I started the program, like how to prevent many problems before they happen.

“I was a medical assistant in a hospital and then in home care, so I’ve had interaction with patients. Then I worked as a health unit coordinator in the ICU at Children’s Medical Center for three and a half years. That was too intense a job for me and really emotional – I realized that I can’t be there bedside for the kids, but I can work in a position where I can make a difference. So I changed my career direction to study dental hygiene.

“Most people don't even realize how much the health of their mouth and teeth affects their overall health. I really like learning about nutrition and practicing how to do things in the clinicals. I want to work as a hygienist, but long-term I’d like to teach, to educate children about how much it matters to take care of their teeth. I’d like to teach kids early on how to make their health better, to do something that will really help change their lives.”