A dental quest among the Lakota

A little-known but admirable outreach program for dentists, hygienists and dental students is the St. Francis Mission Among The Lakota Dental Clinic in South Dakota. Situated just inside the western border of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the clinic offers free dental care to the Lakota people. For nine years, the clinic has been serving those in high need of dental care.

When I started dental school at the University at Buffalo, my father and I made a pact that we would do an outreach trip together if we got the opportunity. My father, Dr. Michael Romano, is a general dentist in Liverpool, New York, and a 1985 graduate of UBSDM. Toward the end of my third year, my father read an article about the dental clinic at Rosebud Indian Reservation in the American Dental Association monthly newspaper. It seemed like the perfect opportunity since the clinic is run solely by volunteer dentists across the country.

Threads of my white coat

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I believe my journey to obtaining my white coat is a testament to that.

I come from a family of healthcare professionals. All of my relatives had a career in this line of work, from dentistry to medicine to nursing. Because of that, I had an early exposure to a variety of fields and quickly became fascinated with dentistry. I found dentistry was different from other professions because it borrowed traits from two monumental aspects of my life: arts and communication.