As dental students, we are uniquely positioned to give back to our communities in various ways. We can join with a few friends, our entire class or, during ASDA’s Week of Service, with thousands of other dental students to volunteer.
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.
Recently, the Buffalo chapter of ASDA hosted a session of “Fun and Games with UB Dental” at our local nursing home, Elderwood. We chose to volunteer with this population because we often see that geriatric individuals are underserved when it comes to oral hygiene knowledge as well as access to oral hygiene supplies.
As we began setting up the sports-themed carnival at Penn, we heard the sound of dogs barking. Just like us, they were getting ready for the exciting and emotional day ahead. The Operation Smile Club from Temple Dental teamed up with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to help make the sixth annual Best Friends Bash (BFB) spectacular. After seeing child after child smile and laugh on June 2, 2018, the day proved to be nothing short of spectacular.
During spring break 2018, I traveled to Quito, Ecuador with my classmates and local dentists. I had never gone on a mission trip before, so I tried to approach everything with an open mind and enthusiasm. It was one of the best decisions of my life, and I can’t wait to go back next year. Since dental schools are increasing the availability of international service trips, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health (ASDOH) was honored to have received the Dentistry in the Community Grant in 2017. When the applications rolled out for the national grants, we were having discussions with the organization, Ability360, to provide an oral health event for them. We received the grant in early 2017, and we were on our way to change the world. Our program is known for it’s dedication to the community, and providing to the underserved areas of Phoenix is what we set out to do.
This year, ASDA focused its efforts on community service and highlighting underserved populations. The first special population we focused on was patients with special needs, which we highlighted over the summer. In addition, we shared posts on ASDA’s Facebook page as well as Mouthing Off. We heard a personal story from an ASDA member with family members who have autism and learned tips on treating patients from an IDD hygienist.