GSDM’s Community-Based Oral Health Programs

Blackstone School 14th Annual Third Grade Field Trip:  Eighty-nine third grade children from the Blackstone Elementary School were invited to GSDM for a full day of oral health activities, including presentations on oral health and nutrition, a lesson on mouth guards, and interactive activities in the Simulation Learning Center in which they learned about sealants and dental impressions.  This field trip provided both interactive health education for children and an opportunity for Boston University dental students to inspire young children to pursue a higher education and possibly a career in dentistry.

Boston Medical Center (BMC) Food Pantry Food Drive: GSDM’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association collected food and raised money for the BMC food pantry.  The Food Pantry distributes items to referred patients from all BMC clinics, feeding approximately 80 families per day and providing three days’ worth of food to patients every two weeks.

Boston Sikh Sangat Society Oral Health Fair: GPH faculty and GSDM students sponsored an oral health fair for the Boston Sikh Sangat Society, one of the largest Sikh congregations in Massachusetts.  The GSDM volunteers offered health promotion, education, engaging dental activities, screenings, and referrals for both children and adults.

Community Health Outreach Workers’ Oral Health Training: A representative from GPH provided a three hour workshop on oral health to Community Outreach Workers enrolled in a certificate program.

Edward W. Brooke Charter School Field Trip: Third grade students from Brooke School, a Roslindale charter school, enjoyed a day of educational and fun activities at GSDM in both the classroom and the Simulation Learning Center.  The children were eager to learn about life as a dental student and many came armed with questions to ask the students.  They participated in lessons on nutrition and sealants, dressed up as dental students, and made thumbprints using an alginate impression and dental stone.

HIV Dental Care/Ryan White:  Through support from the Ryan White Care Act, GSDM provided treatment to patients with HIV and AIDS throughout New England.  A network for education referral has been established and includes Cambridge Cares about AIDS, Boston University Medical Center, and the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.

Mexican Consulate Oral Health Presentation:  GPH is one of several organizations who were invited to speak to those waiting for appointments to discuss passports at the Mexican Consulate in Boston.  GPH faculty gave an interactive presentation on oral health, which was very well received by the engaged audience.  A variety of oral hygiene supplies, educational materials, and flyers were distributed with a listing of Boston area dental clinic locations.

New Pentecostal Church Oral Health Outreach: GPH faculty and GSDM’s chapter of American Student Dental Association held an oral health outreach effort at the New Pentecostal Church in Mattapan.  The outreach event included oral health promotion activities geared toward children, oral health screenings, and referrals.  The group screened about 40 people, both children and adults, and handed out oral health supplies.

Notre Dame Educational Center (NDEC) Oral Health Outreach: The NDEC provides instruction to adult immigrants from all over the world, giving students an opportunity to rebuild their lives as they develop confidence in their ability to communicate in English and further their education.  Each year GSDM faculty and students from GSDM’s chapter of American Student Dental Association provide oral health outreach to NDEC students, including oral health education, dental screenings, referrals, and provision of oral hygiene supplies.

Refugee Dental Care Week: The Chelsea School Dental Center (CSDC) held its annual Refugee Dental Care Week, providing oral health care to refugees from Somali and Nepal.  Patients received an initial comprehensive oral exam, full mouth x-rays, prophylaxis, in some cases scaling, and fluoride varnish application.  Those patients requiring further treatment were given an appointment for their next visit and all patients received their next six month recall appointment.  Coordination of the event was facilitated by a pediatric dentist from Chelsea’s MGH satellite clinic, along with the CSDC’s clinical coordinator.  GSDM’s annual Refugee Dental Care Week has proven to be very beneficial to the refugee populations living in Chelsea.

Roger Wellington Elementary School Oral Health Awareness Day: GSDM provided interactive oral health games and activities, including a puppet toothbrushing demonstration, for 30 children with special needs at the Roger Wellington Elementary School in Belmont, Massachusetts.  Goodie bags with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and stickers were passed out at the end of the presentation.

Rosie’s Place Outreach: Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women, offers emergency and long-term assistance to women who have nowhere else to turn.  Founded in 1974, Rosie’s Place welcomes each guest with respect and unconditional love.  Rosie’s Place accepts no government funds, and relies instead on committed volunteers and private supporters to accomplish its effective and innovative work.  GPH has several initiatives at Rosie’s Place, including:

Rosie’s Place Clothing Drive and Fundraiser: The student-run GSDM clothing drive collects items needed during the winter holidays including socks, gloves, boots, and winter coats for clients at Rosie’s Place.

Rosie’s Place, Childworks Program, Dental Health Fair

Each year GPH faculty and students from GSDM’s student chapter of the American Association of Women Dentists set up an interactive dental health fair for children at Rosie’s Place.  As in the past, this year children were taught about the importance of good dental hygiene and how to properly care for their teeth by use of a dental “passport” to guide them through each of the fair’s six dental-themed stations.  At the end of the tour the children received goodie bags containing prizes and oral hygiene supplies.

Rosie’s Place Wellness Fair: GSDM has a long-standing program that enables women at Rosie’s Place to receive oral health information and complementary hygiene supplies.  At this year’s annual Rosie’s Place Wellness Fair, GPH faculty and student volunteers distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste and talked with those attending the fair about the importance of dental health, healthy eating, consequences of tobacco, and other health topics of interest.

Rosie’s Place “Women to Women” Program: Two years ago, GPH faculty and GSDM’s student chapter of the American Association of Women Dentists launched a monthly community service initiative named “Women to Women,” aimed at improving the oral health of the women of Rosie’s Place.  The main goal of the monthly events is to improve the oral health of the women by providing screenings and educational information, and by answering any dental-related questions. Over the past twelve months, the students screened 122 women and many more women stopped by for oral health information and/or oral hygiene supplies.  An added bonus for the student volunteers has been getting to know some of the other groups volunteering at the monthly events and learning about their perspective on oral health and overall health.

St. Agnes School Oral Health Education: Oral health education was provided to 20 children enrolled at St. Agnes School in Arlington, Massachusetts.  The children enjoyed a variety of interactive activities, including brushing the teeth of our popular dental puppet.  Goodie bags with oral hygiene supplies and parent handouts were given out at the end of the session.

St. Brendan School Oral Health Education: Oral health education was given for 120 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children attending St. Brendan School in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  Proper toothbrushing techniques were demonstrated and the importance of healthy eating was discussed.  The children were eager to talk about their dental experiences and

brushing habits and happily received goodie bags with oral hygiene materials and stickers.

Yawkey Club of Roxbury Dental Health Fair:  GSDM’s chapter of American Student Dental Association partnered with GPH faculty and staff to host their annual interactive dental health fair for children at the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club of Roxbury.  More than 100 children of the Yawkey Club, ranging in age from elementary to high school, attended this event.  The fair included dental “stations” focusing on various aspects of dental health, including brushing and flossing, the negative effects of tobacco on oral health, tooth protectors, the importance of regular dental visits, and the importance of eating healthy for good oral health.  All who complete their “passport” to health, after visiting each station, received goodie bag prizes at the end of the tour.