GSDM’s Integration of Oral Health Into Outside Programs

Bay Cove, Lindemann, and VinFen Wellness Fair: GPH faculty and students promoted oral health to the attendees of the Bay Cove Wellness Fair.  The group offered oral health education, screenings, and referrals to the adults who utilize the services offered by Bay Cove Human Services.  This private, not-for-profit corporation provides a wide variety of services to individuals and their families who face the challenges of developmental disabilities, aging, mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction.

Book Bag Give-A-Way Event: This back to school celebration was hosted by Garden Neighborhood Charities, the City of Boston, and the Salvation Army.  School supplies were provided to over 3,000 children living in Boston’s low income communities.  Students received a pep talk from Mayor Menino and the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and enjoyed shooting on the Celtics hoops and the Bruins nets.  GPH faculty and staff offered oral health screenings and education to children and their families.

Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC) aims to diversify the pool of health professionals in Boston by increasing middle and high school students’ awareness of health professions, and public health issues and concepts.  Through its Youth to Health Careers (Y2HC) program, BAHEC provides academic enrichment, job shadowing, leadership training, and college preparation for middle and high school students.

BAHEC Youth to Health Careers Summer Enrichment Program Health Career Expo: The purpose of this annual BAHEC event is to connect Boston adolescents who are interested in exploring health careers with a variety of health professionals representing a broad range of career fields.  GSDM’s Dental Public Health Division provided BAHEC students with an understanding of the range of oral health careers, their education and fiscal requirements, and the roles and function of each profession in providing and supporting health care.

BAHEC Summer Program Oral Health Class: As part of their summer program, BAHEC students visited GSDM to participate in a two hour oral health class given by GSDM faculty, staff, and dental students.   The purpose was to gain exposure to the full range of careers available in the dental field, to see how the Simulation Learning Center functions, take a tour of the school, and provide the BAHEC students an opportunity to ask a panel of dental students any questions that arose during their visit.

BAHEC Students at GSDM: Twelve BAHEC students visited GSDM for a question and answer session with 13 students from GSDM’s chapter of the Student National Dental Association and 2 members of the GSDM faculty.  A valuable exchange occurred and BAHEC students left with new insights into the path to dental school and encouragement to diligently pursue a dental career.

Boston Medical Center Health Exposition: Boston Medical Center partnered with Channel 7 for the 2013 Health and Fitness Expo, a free-to-the-public community health event at the Hynes Convention Center.  The event attracted thousands of people from the Greater Boston region.  The Health and Fitness Expo offered fun activities and a wealth of information on products and services that relate to healthy living.  GSDM faculty and student volunteers gave information on promoting oral health, oral cancer, nutrition, and other related topics, including how to access oral health services at GSDM.  Over 150 dental screenings were provided for adults, and oral hygiene supplies were distributed to those who received screenings.

Boston Public Schools Parent University: Boston Public Schools hosted Parent University at Northeastern University.  Parent University was designed to help parents increase their understanding of how children learn and develop, and to offer workshops in parent advocacy, family health and wellness, and much more.  GSDM provided families with information (in English and Spanish) on the importance of children’s oral health and gave out toothbrushes, toothpaste, and educational brochures.

Boston University Residence Life Wellness Fair, Charles River Campus:  This annual Boston University Wellness Fair exposes undergraduates to a wide range of health and wellness activities and concepts.  GSDM faculty and students provide oral health promotion activities geared to oral health issues faced by college students.

Chelsea Back to School Celebration: This annual summer event is sponsored by Chelsea Public Schools and focuses on information needed to help students return to school healthy and ready to learn.  Held at the Williams Middle School, this highly successful Back-to-School Fair is attended by nearly one thousand people.  GSDM faculty and staff distribute educational materials, oral hygiene supplies, and information about the free oral health services provided to Chelsea students at the Chelsea School Dental Center.

Chelsea Early Learning Center Open House:  Faculty and staff from the BU/Chelsea Partnership Dental Programs are invited each year to set up an information table at the Early Learning Center’s Open House for parents of children in grades pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.  Information is distributed to parents about the importance of early dental care and the availability of the Chelsea School Dental Center.

Christmas in the City: Christmas in the City is an event for thousands of mothers and children from Boston area homeless shelters.  It is a large party with a banquet, live entertainment, games, rides, a petting zoo, and kid friendly activities.  GSDM supports this large outreach event by providing dental health activities and offering dental screenings for children.

Countdown to Kindergarten Boston:  Countdown to Kindergarten is a non-profit collaborative that engages families, educators, and community members in a city wide effort to celebrate and support children’s transition into kindergarten.  The Celebration is part of a year-long process that helps parents register their children for kindergarten at Boston Public Schools and includes connecting parents with resources that help children thrive in school.  Each year GPH along with GSDM student volunteers attend the Celebration to offer dental screenings, host toothbrushing and arts and crafts stations, and distribute toothbrushes and oral health information to children and parents.  Staffed this year by 29 GSDM students, 120 dental screenings were provided to children as students addressed the oral health needs of young children and the concerns of their parents.

Countdown to Kindergarten Somerville: Patterned after Countdown to Kindergarten Boston, hundreds of children and parents attended this celebration held at the Boston Children’s Museum to help prepare preschool children for entry into kindergarten.  GSDM faculty and students provided oral screenings for children, hosted its usual tooth brushing and dental arts and crafts stations, and distributed oral health information and oral hygiene materials.

Early Childhood Center Field Day: Smart Smiles in Boston Public Schools was invited to join this field day at the Early Childhood Center to promote the program and to provide oral health education to children ages 3 to 5 years with special needs.  Flyers were given to parents about the Smart Smiles Program, nutrition, and oral health.

Everett School Open House: At the Everett School Open House, GPH informed parents about Smart Smiles in Boston Public Schools, encouraging them to both enroll their children in the program and take them to a local dentist for any recommended follow up oral health care.  Educational handouts and oral hygiene supplies were given out.

Generation Next Academy Teen Center’s Safe Love Dance and Resource Fair: GSDM faculty and students volunteered at the annual Safe Love Dance and Resource Fair sponsored by the Generation Next Academy Teen Center.  GSDM offered the teenagers oral health promotion, education, dental activities, screenings, and referrals.

Healthy Baby Healthy Child (HB/HC) Summer Camp Program: Each year GPH participates in the Boston Public Health Commission’s HBHC summer camp picnic activities.  Oral health education, interactive dental activities, and oral health screenings are offered to those attending this summer camp event.

Kids Be Aware Program:  Kids Be Aware enables children to grow and develop the whole person through proper nutrition, physical activities, and healthy lifestyles.  GSDM participated in an event in the greater Boston area which offered workshops on numerous health topics of interest to parents and their children.  Five BU faculty, staff, and students volunteered to talk with families about oral health, and goodie bags were provided to all participants.

Lawrence Oral Health Fair: The Lawrence Mayor’s Oral Health Task Force held its second Oral Health Fair, Healthy Teeth, Healthy Families, at the Lawrence Senior Center.  The goal of this event was to provide oral health education to attendees of all ages and to introduce the public to oral health services available in their area.  Families obtained information about a variety of oral health topics, including the use of tobacco and oral cancer, gum disease, nutrition, brushing, flossing, and caries control.  Other groups hosting tables were local dental clinics and social service agencies.

Massachusetts Area Health Education Center (MassAHEC) Network Summer Brockton Program:  The MassAHEC Network connects students to careers, professionals to communities, and communities to better health.  AHEC strives to inspire, train, recruit, and retain a diverse and broad range of health professionals to practice in communities where the need is greatest.  As part of their summer program, the Brockton area students were offered a class on oral health.  In an effort to supplement their class, students visited GSDM to gain exposure to the full range of careers available in the oral health field as well as build on the knowledge they gained in class.

Massachusetts Dental Society/Boston Collaborative Group Back to School Event

The Boston Collaborative Group, a co-sponsored initiative of the American Dental Association, the Massachusetts Dental Society, and the Metropolitan District Dental Society, participated in this back to school event.  The goal was to provide dental screenings and promote oral health in an effort to get Boston area school children prepared for the new school year.  GSDM faculty and students contributed to this effort through interactive and educational games, and provided 29 dental screenings for children.

Massachusetts Operation Stand Down for Homeless Veterans: This two-day annual event, sponsored by the VA Boston Healthcare System in cooperation with Volunteers of America Massachusetts, offers homeless and at-risk veterans in Boston critical benefits and services such as food, clothing, medical and dental treatment, housing referrals and placement, and career and job counseling.  GSDM provided dental screenings, toothbrushes, toothpaste, denture cleanings, and referrals to the veterans.  In total 22 students and several GSDM faculty and staff volunteered their time and efforts to this event, and they were able to screen 143 veterans over the two day period.  Many of the student volunteers are attending GSDM through the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Mattapan Community Health Center’s Health Care Revival:   Mattapan Community Health Center’s Health Care Revival is an annual event that provides up-to-date information on a variety of health topics and community resources.  GPH faculty shared a tent with staff from the Mattapan Community Health Center, engaging families in dental health conversations and interactive activities on topics such as tooth brushing, flossing, healthy eating, and cavity prevention, as well as the importance of fluoride, mouth guards, and sealants.  Over 60 dental screenings were conducted, and oral hygiene supplies and educational pamphlets were handed out.  Hundreds of families attended this popular health fair.

MGH Chelsea 16th Family Summer Safety Fair: The MGH Chelsea Health Center’s Summer Safety Fair is an annual summer kick-off celebration which focuses on keeping children safe during the summer months.  This year, as in the past, children received free bicycle safety checks and bike helmets.  Many agencies participated, providing tips on home, fire, bicycle, and automobile safety.  Children were offered the opportunity to participate in games and dance contests, designed to promote physical activity.  GPH faculty and staff provided oral health education, promoted the use of mouth guards, invited children to the Chelsea School Dental Center, and distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste to hundreds in attendance at one of Chelsea’s most popular and anticipated events.

Middle O! Orientation: The annual Middle O! event offers an occasion for students entering 6th grade to become oriented with middle school.  The event is held at Fenway Park and proves to be very exciting for both students and vendors alike.  Boston University’s chapter of the Student National Dental Association led GSDM’s involvement in this most recent Middle O effort.  Oral health promotion activities included dental screenings as well as discussions around dental topics relevant to middle school students, such as mouth guards, oral piercing, and dental caries.

MY CHIP (Child ID Program) Event at Charles C. Yancey Book Fair: Boston University faculty and students collaborated with MY CHIP to obtain bite registrations and DNA samples for their Child Identification Program at a Boston school readiness event designed to encourage youth in the City of Boston to enjoy reading and learning.

Peace in the Family Revere: GPH faculty participated in the 12th annual Peace in the Family Day in Revere distributing handouts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental stickers as they talked with many event participants about oral health.  Over 300 people attended this fair to promote peace and health in the families in Revere, Chelsea, and vicinities.

Perkins School Open House: At the Perkins School Open House, faculty and staff distributed informational materials and talked with parents about GSDM’s Smart Smiles in Boston Public Schools Program.  Oral health promotion activities included a demonstration of proper toothbrushing techniques and a discussion about the importance of regular dental visits.  Goodie bags with oral hygiene supplies, pencils, and stickers were given out at the end of the program.

Research Science Institute:  Since 1994 GSDM has been a participant in the Research Science Institute, a six-week summer program for high school students.  Sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the students experience college-level classes and complete hands-on research guided by selected mentors at corporations, universities, and other organizations.

Special Olympics Special Smiles® Program: GSDM staff, students, and faculty came together with other dental schools, hygiene schools, and dental practitioners at the Special Olympics Massachusetts games held at Harvard University.  At the games volunteers registered athletes, gave free oral health screenings, made mouth guards, demonstrated proper hygiene, provided nutrition counseling, and gave out goodie bags filled with dental supplies as part of the Healthy Athletes® Special Smiles® Initiative.

Suffolk University Health and Wellness Fair: GSDM promoted oral health to Suffolk University college students in attendance at this health fair by offering dental screenings and providing information on oral health topics of interest and relevance to this age group.

TET in Boston Festival:  Organized by the Vietnamese-American Community of Massachusetts and the Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Association, this annual festival attracts around 1000 attendees and hundreds of vendors.  Festivities include games, food, and music, and people from all around Massachusetts come to celebrate.  GPH faculty and student volunteers from GSDM’s chapter of the Asian Student Dental Organization manned a table at this year’s event to promote oral health and healthy eating.  Numerous games taught the children about the importance of oral health, and puppets were used to show the children proper toothbrushing technique.  Oral hygiene supplies were distributed to those visiting the GSDM booth, and mouth guards were given to children over age 12 involved in sports.

Trotter School Open House and Career Night: At the Trotter School Open House, information about dental health and the Smart Smiles in Boston Public Schools Program was presented to parents and families of children attending the event.  On a separate occasion, a City Year career night program allowed Trotter School third through fifth graders the opportunity to learn about a variety of careers by interacting with professionals working in a variety of fields.  A GPH staff member spoke to the children about opportunities in the field of dentistry and the importance of doing well in school in order to prepare for college and a professional career.

Toys for Tots: GSDM’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association continued their tradition of making the holidays more joyful for Boston children in need by once again hosting their toy drive prior to GSDM Intersession.  The GSDM community donated new, unwrapped toys to the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Initiative.

Wang YMCA Holiday Party: Members of the Boston University Chapter of Asian Student Dental Organization volunteered at the annual holiday party at the Wang YMCA in Chinatown in December.  Volunteers set up four tables for children’s oral health activities and distributed oral health educational materials and hygiene supplies to parents.

Yankee Dental Congress 38/HIV Dental Work Group: Seventeen Boston University dental students joined with dental students from Harvard and Tufts to staff the HIV Workgroup table sponsored by the Boston Public Health Commission.  The HIV Dental Workgroup is part of the Boston Public Health Commission’s AIDS program, the HIV dental program which facilitates access to oral health care for persons with HIV.  This was the HIV Workgroup’s 18th year of providing an educational exhibit on HIV oral health issues and infection control at Yankee Dental.  GSDM students handed out packets of oral health information, talked with people who stopped by the booth, and assisted in collecting consumables donated for use in programs for persons with HIV.