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.
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.
In 2012, my brother and I established an annual summer camp designed for 11 to 14 year olds from underserved neighborhoods in Contra Costa County, California. The theme for last year’s camp was “Mind-Body-Spirit,” an intensive, holistic health session centered on the importance of finding a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit, as well as strategies to develop their potential and contribute to society. This encompassed fostering a positive outlook on their oral and overall health.
In January 2018, I began visiting the Boys & Girls Club of Jacksonville, Alabama. Through my involvement in my local community and its schools, I noticed that an overwhelming number of children lack professional role models. I wanted to help change that.
Dozens of dental students served at the sixth annual Mission of Mercy in Reading, Pennsylvania (MOM-n-PA). The Santander Arena, normally full of screaming sports fans or concert goers, was transformed into a free dental clinic for those in need. There were 1,900 patients seen May 18-19.
After 45 years in private practice, Dr. Daniel Braun can still say, “HealthLink is better than any place I’ve seen in private practice. Period. And it’s free. If you can beat that, you show me where.” Dr. Braun has volunteered at the HealthLink Dental Clinic in Southampton, Pennsylvania, ever since retiring in 2004. After 14 years with the clinic, the 1968 graduate from Baltimore College of Dental Surgery still ranks it supreme in care.