The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College Adds New Mental Health Certificate Program

Parkland College to add Mental Health Certificate this fall 2021

Parkland College will be adding a new Mental Health Certificate program this fall.

The new five-credit-hour certificate will train entry-level mental health and social service workers to enter full or part time mental health support professional roles. These skills include therapeutic communication and de-escalation techniques; identification of signs and symptoms of mental illness, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities; and certification in mental health first aid, among others.

The two-course program, offered by Parkland's Social Science and Human Services department, can be completed in a single semester and will benefit people working or wanting to work in social services organizations.

"After hearing from our partners in the community that workers need these skills to best serve their clients, we have developed this new certificate in order to meet this important need," said Joseph Walwik, dean of arts and sciences.

"Students enrolling in these courses will earn a certificate in Mental Health First Aid and also gain basic knowledge about mental health, substance abuse, developmental and other issues. We are confident that with this training students will leave Parkland prepared to enter the social services workforce.”

The Mental Health Certificate will be available to take starting this Fall 2021. To register, visit For more information about the program, please visit

Dental Hygiene Clinic to Offer Free Screenings for Immigrants

Immigrant Dental Screening Day, Monday, March 1, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Dental Hygiene Clinic

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Parkland College's Dental Hygiene Clinic will host a free "Immigrant Dental Screening Day" on Monday, March 1, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Dental Hygiene Clinic, Room L150 at the college campus.

This event is for adults 18 and older and is by appointment only. Parkland College Dental Hygiene program faculty and students will provide dental screenings for gum disease and tooth decay at no cost to patients. Patients will fill out a COVID screening form along with a medical history; appointments are approximately 30 minutes.

Once patients have been screened, Dental Hygiene staff will schedule any necessary appointments for free follow-up cleanings, dental x-rays, oral health education and fluoride treatments, and will make referrals for advanced dental work.

Individuals interested in this special event may contact the La Línea program (based in the University YMCA) at 217/417-5897 to make an appointment for a screening or for more information.

"Immigrant Dental Screening Day" is sponsored by the Parkland College Dental Hygiene program and Club Latino, La Línea, and the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland College.

Parkland Surgical Technology Students Win National Scholarships

Parkland Health Professions students awarded ARC/STSA scholarships

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Two Parkland College Surgical Technology students recently won national scholarships in the field.

The Accreditation Review Council on Education in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (ARC/STSA) has awarded Melissa Jensen of Champaign and Diana Stronovych of Urbana with its 2020 Scholarship, according to a announcement this month. ARC/STSA is the accrediting services agency for surgical technology degree programs, a committee of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

The national $500 scholarship is awarded to applicants based on their essays and their standing in their CAAHEP-accredited surgical technology or surgical assisting program. The scholarship program is intended to support students in their continuing education in surgical technology. 

Having worked in healthcare for several years prior, Jensen said it has always been her dream to work side by side with medical professionals in the operating room.

"My future goals and aspirations are to advance to a surgical first assistant, become a surgical technology instructor, and acquire a leadership role such as serving a term on the board of directors for the Association of Surgical Technologists (AST)," she said. "The ARC/STSA Scholarship gives me the opportunity to continue to reach my goals."

Stronovych said she realized she wanted to become a surgical technologist (and later a surgical first assistant) after learning how it would allow her "to make a real change in people's lives."

"It is an honor to receive the scholarship award, and I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity, since it is not only an investment in my future development as a surgical technologist, but most importantly, a chance to help other people with their health needs," she said.

For more information on Parkland College's Surgical Technology program, visit the program webpage

"Give Kids a Smile" Free Dental Clinic at Parkland, Feb. 15

Dental Hygiene Clinic offers free exams and more for kids

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Parkland College's Dental Hygiene Clinic will host "Give Kids a Smile Day" on Saturday, Feb. 15, a free dental clinic for youths ages 1–17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Room L148.

Treatment provided will consist of free dental exams and cleanings, fluoride treatments, and educational activities for children. No appointment is needed.

"Give Kids a Smile Day" is sponsored by the Illini District Dental Society in partnership with the Parkland College's Dental Hygiene program and the SmileHealthy Dental program through Promise Healthcare.

Individuals interested in this special event may contact Peg Boyce at 217/351-2386 or for more information. 

Occupational Therapy's LIFE Clinic, Jan. 28–March 10

Free services to help residents with everyday pain, mobility issues

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Residents who live with daily pain or who have difficulty completing simple to more complex day-to-day activities can get help from a free clinic at Parkland College starting Jan 28.

The Learning Information for Everyday (LIFE) Clinic, offered by the Parkland College Occupational Therapy Assistant program, offers simple strategies to conserve energy or can recommend or construct an assistive device to help residents navigate their activities better.

For Spring Semester 2020, the LIFE Clinic will offer services Tuesdays, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 28 through March 10. For more information or to seek assistance through the clinic, please call Michelle Roberts, OTA program director, at 217/353-2782.