GSDM Community Volunteered for Nearly 500 Hours During 2024 Global Days of Service


Stacey Terlik, Community Servings’ manager of volunteer services, said the organization relies on the generosity of volunteers to help provide meals to the high volume of clients they are currently serving. (Photo Credit: Dan Bomba, GSDM).

Every April, Boston University encourages alumni, students, residents, faculty, and staff to donate their time and energy to give back to their local, national, and international communities during its Global Days of Service event, a university-wide of community service initiative.  

Eighty-six members of the GSDM community contributed 499 volunteer hours at various events. From serving hot pizzas at the largest homeless shelter in New England to providing dental screenings, the GSDM community fostered meaningful experiences and/or oral healthcare for people in need during the 2024 Global Days of Service, held from March 14 to May 9. Kathy Lituri, GSDM clinical assistant professor of health policy & health services research, said the annual event is an outstanding way to see the connection between community service and dentistry firsthand.  

“It’s important for dental professionals to know how to connect with their community,” Lituri said. “Every GSDM volunteer helps make Global Days of Service successful for our local community.” 

Here are some highlights from the 2024 Global Days of Service. 

During the Equity Now & Beyond Resource and Wellness Clinic, sponsored by the Boston Public Health Commission and Equity Now & Beyond on Thursday, March 14, in Nubian Sqaure, 10 members of the GSDM community hosted a table with information about oral health, sponsored giveaways, and offered dental screenings.  

GSDM screened 31 people, in addition to giving away toothbrushes, toothpastes, denture cup kits, Fixodent, and denture cleaning tabs, said Lituri.  

Samanza Ahmed DMD AS 24 was one of the screeners and oral health promoters. Ahmed said it was gratifying to provide oral health education to all who visited the GSDM table.  

 “I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of numerous individuals to undergo dental screenings in a non-dental setting,” Ahmed said. “Witnessing the remarkable outcomes achieved through teamwork was truly inspiring.”  

On May 19, volunteers from GSDM’s chapter of American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) brought pizza, salad, granola bars, and toothpaste donations to Pine Street Inn, which is the largest homeless services provider in New England. AAPHD used their dues fund to cover the food cost for more than 70 guests at Pine Street Inn.  

Josephine (Josie) Tucker, Pine Street Inn volunteer programs & advancement assistant co-op, said guests were extremely excited for the catered lunch. She said Pine Street Inn currently serves over 500 individuals in their shelters every night. They rely on volunteers to help make all Pine Street Inn guests have a beneficial experience.  

“Every night we serve dinner and require volunteers to plate the meals for our guests efficiently, as well as bring enthusiasm to the shelter,” Tucker said. “Many of our guests rely on our meals as their only form of nutrition, so we need to make sure we serve everyone each night. Catered meals are also special to our guests as they really appreciate the variety provided by volunteers bringing in food.”  

On three separate occasions in April and early May, GSDM students volunteered at Community Servings, a non-profit food and nutrition program that cooks home-delivered meals from scratch that is medically tailored to meet the nutritional needs of their clients with HIV/AIDS, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses.  

Stacey Terlik, Community Servings’ manager of volunteer services, said the organization relies on the generosity of volunteers to help provide meals to the high volume of clients they are currently serving. For 2024, Community Servings will provide over 1.2 million meals to more than 5,000 critically ill individuals and their families.  

Jillian Rivera DMD 26 was the group leader during the April 3 visit to Community Servings.  

“I had such a great time volunteering,” Rivera said. “The staff was so nice, and it was very organized. It’s so important to give back to your community, and I am glad that I was able to come help.”  

Nicole Leonardo DMD 27 worked to label bags with prepped meals according to the delivery day, the route, and the diet.  

“Living with a chronic disease is hard enough, never mind trying to understand what your best food options are,” Leonardo said. “Everyone deserves nutritious food, and food that will make them feel great, and I am happy that I was able to be a part of this wonderful mission.” 


By Rachel Grace Philipson