Category Archives: Reflections

Smile Squad Visits the Boston Public School

On February 26th three volunteers from Smile Squad visited the Boston Public School and gave oral hygiene instructions to kids ages 3-7 years.

Sara Alterman (D20) reflects on her experience volunteering; “We gave a live demo on proper brushing and flossing techniques using a puppet and then let the kids try it out for themselves. They loved the chance to be hands on with the puppet and it was a great way to give them feedback on their brushing techniques. At the end of the day we gave the children their own toothbrush and toothpaste to take home with them so they can keep up the good habits we taught them. The children and I both had a lot of fun and I would definitely volunteer with Smile Squad again in the future!”

SNDA Holds Dental Workshop at Youth Enrichment Services Academy

SNDA members Tiara Felder, Gabriel Thomas, and Heather Smith had a lot of fun returning to Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Academy, a youth development and leadership program for Boston teens, for a dental career workshop. They took alginate impressions on typodonts, played dental jeopardy, and talked to them about a career in dentistry.

Heather Smith (D20) reflects: “The kids were really enthusiastic about wanting to know more about dentistry, and expressed that they took a lot of positive things away from the workshop. Many of the children reflected that prior to the workshop they did not know about all of the recognized specialties and different aspects of dentistry.”

OHI at First Korean Church in Cambridge

Loaves and Fishes Meals Program, sponsored by the First Korean Church in Cambridge, serves hot restaurant-style buffet to the homeless, retirees, and members of the community weekly. A large volunteer staff consisting of members of the First Korean Church and outside organizations help to prepare, cook, and serve the food and clean up afterwards. Korean American Dental Association (KADA) members Urim Kang (D19), Cindy Park (D20), Jaeseong Park (D20), Joohee Park (D20), and Stephen Kwon (D20) were given the opportunity to serve along with 28 other volunteers.

Stephen Kwon (D20) reflects: “We assisted in preparing for the meal, then set up a small booth to provide oral hygiene instructions and hand out toothbrushes and toothpastes. More than 100 attendees visited our booth, many who were unacquainted with proper dental care. It was exciting and rewarding for us to engage with members of our community and guide them into developing good oral habits. We look forward to returning in the future!”

ADO’s Visit to Golden Age

The Asian Dental Organization regularly visits the Golden Age center, making in effort to improve the health literacy of Chinese seniors in the Tufts Dental neighborhood.

Gina Kim (D22) reflects: “We gave a presentation about nutrition and oral health for the elderly at the Golden Age Center. Through this event, the seniors were able to learn how to better care for their oral health. I loved participating in this event as I learned to apply what I have used in my classes such as Oral Health Promotions to better communicate to the community on why our diet is an integral part of taking care of our teeth. I was surprised the elderly were very interested and actively participating in the discussion. Through this experience I realized once again how important my education at Tufts Dental is and was motivated to learn the best to my abilities the information presented in my classes.”

Tufts Students Collaborate with St. Francis House and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program

Evan Gallegos Reflects: “Chris Hines (D22) and Evan Gallegos (D21), provided preventative techniques to the St. Francis House community. There is a large and growing community at this shelter who attend our workshops to learn more about their oral health. Our presence is imperative to educating the large vulnerable St. Francis House population, so that they develop good oral hygiene and prevent oral disease.”

AAPD Volunteers with Room to Grow!

Pictured (from left to right): BACK ROW: Samatha Guan (D21), David Alpert (D21), Samatha Sauers (D20), Allie Penta (D21), and Lauren Lubowitz (D21)
FRONT ROW: Simran Kaur (D20), Kaitlyn O’Connell (D21) and Sophia Heitsmiller (D21)

On October 30, AAPD volunteered with Room To Grow. The organization serves families from just before their child’s birth through age 3. They provide high-quality material items (like clothes, books and toys), individualized parenting education, and specialized referrals to community resources to ensure a healthy and secure start to the child’s life. The AAPD team helped to sort through donated clothing, supplies and books.

Volunteer Sophie Heitsmiller (D21) reflects: “With a group of nine people, we were able to organize an entire room of donations within a few hours. It’s was rewarding to see how teamwork can help a non profit organization that will help mothers and children in need.”

Everyone had a great time and look forward to working with this amazing organization again in the future!

AAPD Members Teach local Children about Oral Hygiene!

On November 3, AAPD sent volunteers to three different locations across the city for Boston Center for Youth and Families’ Family Gym Day. This weekly event serves as a  free play program for families with children ages 3 – 8 to get up, out, and moving together on Saturday mornings. The volunteers played games with children, then made a short presentation about ways to keep their mouths healthy and general oral hygiene instruction. Each group brought new toothbrushes and toothpastes for all children in attendance. All groups had a great time volunteering with this amazing organization!

In the Roxbury Location: Shalin Shah (D22) and Lauren Lubowitz (D21) 
In the Dorchester Location: Laimarie Alas (D22), Romina Aznavaleh (D22), Elizabeth Banister (D22), Kathryn Sierra (D22)
In the South End Location: Emily Thomas (D20) and Samantha Sauers (D20)

AADMD’s outreach to students with special healthcare needs

On November 2, two members of AADMD, Lauren Lubowitz (D21) and Pranali Vyas (D21), worked with Professor Dolan at the Joseph Lee School in Dorchester to help give oral health screenings to students with special healthcare needs. The Joesph Lee School features a specialized program for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Professor Dolan, Lauren and Pranali saw 5 patients and provided oral hygiene instruction, fluoride varnish, extra oral and intra oral exams and made referrals to Tufts Dental for treatment!

Recap: Annual Student Leadership Workshop–A Great Success!

On February 21st, Nancy Marks, Dept. of Public Health and Karen Alexander, Student Affairs, hosted the Annual Student Leadership Dinner and Training. With almost 50 leaders attending, evaluations deemed it “a great success”!

The workshop consisted of a series of group activities and discussions led by guest trainer from Tisch College, Mindy Nierenberg.  Mindy immediately made people feel comfortable and set a pace that allowed participants to relax after their long days in clinic and class.

The first exercise involved a self-assessment on communication preferences and styles. Students were able to gain insight on the way they approach situations and conflict in small group discussions, which were then brought together to the entire workshop.

“This was a nice opportunity to take a step back and realize how many aspects of leadership exist and the many different definitions of what a leader is. I throughly enjoyed myself and look forward to applying the discussed concepts to my day-to-day opportunities showcasing leadership,” Joseph Dudlek (D21) reflects.

After group discussions regarding several leadership topics, strategies, and difficulties, the students were able to work together in an active, team-building exercise. Students were randomly assigned into groups of 4-5 and asked to build a tower with limited supplies: tape, paper, a few cups and a paper plate. If that wasn’t hard enough there was another catch: They were only able to discuss a plan at the beginning and during the actual building of the tower no talking was allowed.  What broke the silence? Laughter– as groups endeavored to work together and build a five foot tower that would stand up to Nanc’s ‘huffing and puffing’ on it.

Vendita Correia (D20) states: “There is something special about people working together who span various racial, socioeconomic, and other socially constructed groups. In other circumstances these people would may not be grouped together and that is what was so awesome about this activity.”

Overall, the Student Leadership Dinner and Training demonstrated to many of our student leaders ways that they can improve their roles within their perspective organizations and through TUSDM as a whole. We look forward to next year’s workshop! (Pranali Vyas, reporting for Dental Central)

ADEA Hackathon

On February 24, ADEA chapters at Tufts, Harvard, BU, UConn, Touro, and Stony Brook participated in a curriculum Hackathon held at Harvard School of Dental Medicine! Students were grouped into teams and were given just two hours to design their own innovative dental school, focusing on curriculum topics of their choice. Teams focused on hot topics like Public Health and Community Service, Technology, Public Policy, Interprofessional Education, Research, and many more! Presentations were judged by a panel of deans and professors, including Dean Karimbux.

Here are some students reflections!

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