What is your chapter doing for the community? Let ASDA help!

Alabama dental student at back to school fair (Photo credit: Belema Mark Abere, Alabama ’19)


As you probably know, ASDA chapters across the nation have been doing amazing work to improve the oral health of individuals within their communities. But, did you know that ASDA has a national grant opportunity to support these initiatives? Dentistry in the Community Chapter Grant applications are being accepted until January 9, 2017. Up to five grants of $500 each will be awarded for 2017.

Below is a snapshot of the incredible work done by the 2016 chapter grantees.* Congratulations to these chapters and to everyone who participated! Your efforts in improving oral health literacy and oral hygiene practices will have an impact for years to come.

  • Alabama (UAB) ASDA participated in the Back-2-School fair in Birmingham. More than 100 children ages three to twelve attended and were provided with oral hygiene instruction using creative hands-on activities, engaging visuals and fun science demonstrations. Each child was also provided with a goodie bag including a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, educational materials for parents, worksheets for kids and even a few school supplies.
  • East Carolina University ASDA partnered with The Third Street Community Center, a non-profit organization focused on helping individuals develop the skills to productively engage with the community. The student and faculty volunteers coordinated stations for screening exams, oral health instruction, patient education and nutritional counseling. They provided in-depth information on the negative effects of tobacco use and gave each participant an opportunity to discuss specific concerns or ask any questions pertaining to oral health. The event was so well-received that another was planned for the following month.
  • LECOM ASDA worked in conjunction with the Hope Kids Community Organization to host a “Day of Hope” three times in the past few months. There were active demonstrations on how to brush and floss, extra- and intraoral screening exams and learning tables with both games and coloring sheets. All participants received a goodie bag which contained information for the child’s parent or guardian on how to reach the dental school to schedule a visit.
  • Midwestern Arizona ASDA participated in the Back to School event hosted by the Phoenix Rescue Mission, an organization that helps individuals in the community who are struggling with homelessness, addiction and/or trauma. More than 200 children attended and each were provided with oral hygiene supplies, educational materials in both English and Spanish and information on nearby safety net clinics.
  • Roseman ASDA partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Tooele, which serves low-income children in a town west of Salt Lake City. The volunteers demonstrated proper brushing and flossing and then gave the children an opportunity to “teach back” to show their understanding. They discussed how cavities form and reviewed proper nutrition to promote healthy teeth. The Boys and Girls Club was grateful for their help in teaching children “early and often” how to develop good oral hygiene practices.

Do these activities sound like something your chapter does or would like to pursue? Do you have new ideas on organizing an outreach or service activity that would benefit your community? If so, be sure to check out this grant opportunity, and don’t forget to submit your chapter’s application by January 9! Maybe your chapter will be next.

*Note: This grant opportunity was previously titled Taking Oral Hygiene Awareness to Rural and Underserved America. The grant has since been renamed to Dentistry in the Community and is now expanded in scope to support a wide range of services for various beneficiary populations. Creativity is encouraged!

~ Chelsea Rajagopalan, Rutgers ’17, chair, Council on Professional Issues

Chelsea Rajagopalan

Chelsea F. Rajagopalan is a fourth year student at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. She serves as chair on the ASDA Council on Professional Issues and is Immediate Past President of the Rutgers ASDA Chapter. When she’s not in class or clinic, she enjoys visiting her friends and family in Michigan and Texas, exploring NYC, and running with her dog Mack.

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