GSDM Volunteers Support Oral Health and Spirits of At-risk Veterans

(l-r) Neha Singh, Faryal Hussain, Neetu Nath, Heidi Borenstein, and Andrew Grinsell, all DMD 17
(l-r) Neha Singh, Faryal Hussain, Neetu Nath, Heidi Borenstein, and Andrew Grinsell, all DMD 17

Though the men and women visiting the  International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 103 in Dorchester on August 23 and 24, 2013, filled the atmosphere with purposeful enthusiasm, the objective of the day was serious: these at-risk and homeless veterans were on a mission for vital resources such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. The event was Massachusetts Stand Down, which is co-sponsored by Volunteers of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Operation Stand Down is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides free services to at-risk and homeless veterans. The concept of Stand Down began during the Vietnam War as an effort to provide war-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit and sense of well-being.

At this Stand Down event, tables and military-style pup tents were set up outside and inside of the IBEW building, each with stations offering services including housing assistance, job assistance, education, eye glasses, clothing, VA benefits, food stamps, counseling, voter registration, child support, and foot care. For the seventh consecutive year, Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine (GSDM) volunteers provided oral health education and services at the event.

GSDM volunteers were stationed inside, where they conducted oral screenings, provided denture cleaning and labeling, gave one-on-one oral hygiene instruction, and handed out toothpaste, dental floss, and mouth wash.

“This is a great opportunity for students to interact with those who have served our country and to learn about some of the issues faced by at-risk and homeless veterans,” said Oral Health Promotion Director Kathy Lituri.

Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter said, “I am proud to see so many members of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine community return to Massachusetts Stand Down each year.” He continued, “I applaud the hard work of the volunteers who support our veterans at this important event.”

The Faculty volunteers were Clinical Instructors Lina Benslimane, Cindy Cadoret, Gladys Carrasco, Ana Keohane, and Martin Ugarte-Chavez; Director, Global Initiatives Kathy Held; and Oral Health Promotion Director Kathy Lituri.

Thank you to our many student volunteers: Abdulraheem Alwafi DPH 16, Eman Behbehani DPH 16, Heidi Borenstein DMD 17, Shelby Curtis DMD 16, Rushil Dang AS 15, Michelle DaRocha DMD 15, Matthew Garcia DMD 15, Johshua Gilbert DMD 14, Andrew Grinsell DMD 17, Faryal Hussain DMD 17, Sukhjinder Kaur AS 14, Courtney Knapik DMD 16, Dave Lane DMD 16, Jaerim Lee DMD 14, Antonio Maceda-Johnson DMD 15, Matt Mara DMD 16, Aaron Mertz DMD 16, Samaneh Mojarrad AS 14, Neetu Nath DMD 17, Alex Nguyen DMD 17, Sonal Patel AS 15, Thomas Pepe DMD 16, Siavash Golaby Sanajany DMD 15, Amrita Sandhu DMD 15, Sumedha Sharma AS 14, Neha Singh DMD 17, Divya Upadhyah AS 15, and David Ziegler DMD 14.

Photos are available on Facebook and Flickr.