Giving back while still in dental school

You never hear anyone in dental school utter the words, “I’m bored.” If anything, there is too much to do and too little time to do it. However, there are students who somehow find time to give back to those who are less fortunate, even with everything else going on in their lives.

Dental Lifeline Network (DLN) is a national non-profit organization, dedicated to helping vulnerable people with much-needed dental treatment through a network of volunteer dentists and labs. Through the DLN Outstanding Student Award, provided by the Brian D. Stone Memorial Fund, DLN recognizes a graduating student at (participating dental schools) who demonstrates exceptional volunteer service. Here, we spotlight two award recipients and their stories of giving back.

Austin Tidwell
Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine (Arizona)

“Midwestern offered a lot of volunteer experiences for students, and I signed up for almost all of them. Every other month or so, we’d have something, whether it was a Veteran’s Day event helping the members of the armed forces or a Super Sealant Saturday with kids, providing dental work for them. We had lots of activities like that.

“Inside our curriculum, we had opportunities to go to elementary schools and educate kids about oral health, in addition to an adult facility where [patients] had special needs. We were able to teach them [about] their oral health, help them brush their teeth and help their caregivers learn more about keeping them healthy.

“It was a big part of my dental school experience, and I loved every second of it. I am honored to have received this award.”

Elizabeth Macchione
University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry (Michigan)

“Over the past two years, I have volunteered with Bay Cliff Health Camp as part of their dental team. Working with adult individuals with special needs has really been a highlight for me. The gratitude, affection and appreciation they show after even the simplest of treatments makes you feel like the work you are doing is making a difference and that you are spending your time in the right place.

“I truly believe that as a dentist, we cannot fully uphold our duty to do good if we are not including all members of the community in our practice. I am forever grateful for Bay Cliff and the members of Camp Independence for allowing me the opportunity to do so.”

How you can get involved

You can find out if the DLN award is offered at your school by contacting Jenn Venerable at [email protected]. You also can pledge to volunteer for Dental Lifeline Network when you graduate.

~Jenn Venerable, Dental Lifeline Network

This blog post was sponsored by Dental Lifeline Network.

Dental Lifeline Network

Dental Lifeline Network is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1974, that nationally provides access to dental care for people who cannot afford it and have a permanent disability, or who are elderly (age 65+) or who are medically fragile.

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