This year, ASDA continued the growth of the National Outreach Initiative, which was established in 2017 and brings attention to the oral health needs of underserved populations. The special populations highlighted this year included geriatric individuals, displaced populations and veterans.
We published outreach content on ASDA’s social media outlets and publications Contour and Mouthing Off, and provided chapters with “Flash guides” that contained information on the various populations and ideas for outreach events. Colgate has generously continued its sponsorship of the initiative, funding the 2019 Dentistry in the Community Grant and providing free oral health care supplies to chapters.
In summer 2018, we learned about the challenges of providing dental care to geriatric patients and recommendations for caring for individuals with dementia. Buffalo ASDA used its “Dentistry in the Community” grant to host an event for seniors at a local nursing home. During the fall, we focused on displaced populations, which include refugees, immigrants and those impacted by natural disasters. We heard the story of an ASDA member who came to the United States with her family as refugees from Iraq and who shared the importance of understanding the unique oral health needs of refugees.
This winter, ASDA encouraged chapters to host outreach events for veterans. Columbia ASDA hosted a clothing drive for Vietnam Veterans of America, and we read about the impact of dental care among United States veterans.
This week, we have seen the incredible outreach ASDA students are involved in and the impact of their service. Outreach is a pillar of dentistry, and we are thrilled to see ASDA members dedicated to helping others through community service.
As we continue into 2019 and conclude the Week of Service, we encourage you to continue outreach efforts throughout the year. By distinguishing the unique needs of specific populations and participating in community service, we empower individuals to care for their oral health.
Be sure to use #ASDAOutreach and tag @dentalstudents in your social media posts to share your community service with other students.
~ Sydney Shapiro, Columbia ’21, ASDA Council on Professional Issues Associate
ASDA thanks Colgate for their exclusive sponsorship of the National Outreach Initiative. This backing includes funding for the Dentistry in the Community Grant and free oral health care supplies to any chapter that requests them.