On November 4th, 2016 Smile Squad members started off their first weekend of November volunteering at the Medford Sikh Temple with Dr. Neela Gandhi where they provided oral hygiene instructions along with oral cancer screenings. We are very fortunate for being able to participate in this event that the India Medical Association of New England (IMANE) organized. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Indian culture while giving back to the community. Dr. Gandhi lead the Oral Health Awareness and the cancer screening to the local Sikh Community in Medford. Tufts Dental Students, Sangita Murali (D’18), Thais Antunes (D’20), Sandy Lopez (D’20), Ramandeep Kaur (D’20) and Simran Kaur (D’20) assisted Dr. Gandhi at the temple by demonstrating proper oral hygiene techniques, distributing toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss along with teaching the community very important oral hygiene tips.
On October 19th to the 21st, the Student Professional and Ethics Association (SPEA) members Ian Dickinson (D19), Lauren Hagspiel (D19), Stefane Bourguignon (D20), and Jesse Huston (D19) had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta to attend the 7th SPEA Annual Session.
Ian Dickson (D19) reflects: “Members from all over the country and Canada gathered for a weekend packed with events and presentations from several incredible speakers (including Chris Salierno from The Curious Dentist Blog and ASDA White Paper author Michael C. Meru) on inter-professional teamwork, the changing demographics in dentistry, and dealing with ethical situations in corporate dentistry, to name a few. The session was a truly enriching and inspiring event and we look forward to sharing our newfound skills and experiences with all members of the Tufts community.”
Tufts hosted its 15th annual Community Day on Sunday September 25, 2017. Smile Squad members were there to provide oral hygiene instructions to the various children and families that participated. Our table was a center of attraction. Most families recognized us from the year before. The children enjoyed interacting with our members and learning more about oral hygiene techniques. It was a rewarding experiencing for Smile Squad as it was a busy event with lots of people eager to use the educational tools we had available. The number of families including the children that didn’t speak English at the event made it apparent that it is important to have volunteers that speak many languages. Thankfully, we had Smile Squad members who spoke Spanish and Portuguese at the event which was a great resource. We hope that next year we will have more members present who are fluent in other languages due to the diversity present in Boston and its surrounding areas.
Sandy Lopez ( D20) reflects on her experience:
Volunteering with Smile Squad at Tufts Community day was wonderful experience to be a part of. The opportunity to be a first-time exposure of oral hygiene to various young children and families was very rewarding. Going forward and reflecting on the experience I hope we can have a poster board or even a pin saying “Ask us to how brush and Floss” in various languages that help us provide everyone at the event with oral health instructions.
As many of you may know, Houston was devastated by what is being called a 1,000 year flood. An event of this magnitude should occur every 1,000 years. Over 500,000 vehicles have been totaled due to flood damage and over 100,000 homes have been flooded. The donations collected from Tufts School of Dental Medicine with ASDA have been sent to Bay Area Turning Point. Their main mission involves bringing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The items that everyone have graciously brought in will be bringing much needed supplies to not only the victims of Hurricane Harvey, but of domestic violence as well.
As a Houston native I personally want to thank everyone that is a part of the Tufts family. The amount of support and love that was brought together by everyone here is truly inspiring. I believe I can speak on behalf of the Houston and say thank you.
– Jonathan Pierpoline (D21)
ASDA Puerto Rico Chapter is continuing to collect donations to help those affected by the storm get back on their feet . No donation is too small. Every dollar matters. If you’d like to make a contribution please click HERE.
On Tuesday, September 12th, there was a hearing on “Food and Nutrition: Oral Health by the Massachusetts Joint Committee. More specifically, there was a hearing regarding legislation to enact mid-level dental providers for the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Alec Eidelman (D18) who is a DMD, MPH Dual degree candidate had participated testifying against Bill S. 1169, and FOR H. 2820/S. 142. Check out Alec’s written testimony BELOW….
This past Saturday, September 23rd, Smile Squad participated at the annual Oak Fair in Chinatown. The children and families were very excited to see us there again. It was great to interact with them despite their language barriers. Most were eager to show us how they brush and floss their teeth regularly while others were a bit shy at first but with the help of their parents as translators we were able to better interact with them. They enjoyed using the different puppets and toothbrushes we had available for demonstrational purposes. The event was a great turn out. Each child had a different skill level when it came to brushing and flossing. It was rewarding to see them eager to practice and improve their habits. They enjoyed getting new toothbrushes, toothpaste, and stickers.
Stephanie Alvarez (D20) and Simran Kaur (D20) reflects….
On August 24th, Tufts Smile Squad participated the “Back to School Jam at Mission Hill”. There were approximately 7-10 student volunteers along with a faculty member of the TUSDM. They provided oral hygiene instructions to 100+ kids (K-8) at the elementary school.
On the evening of August 15th, a D21 Women in Leadership Initiative event was hosted. Dean Thomas, Dean Hanlon, Nancy Marks (Community Service Coordinator), Jacqueline Liu (D19)/ (Lead Event Organizer), D19 Panel (Grace Kim, Zamone Sawyer, Melody Chou, Nari Park), and D19/D20 volunteers all joined in welcoming attendees, affirming the high regard and support for the women of TUSDM. Participants were encouraged to feel empowered and supported by faculty and staff to pursue personal aspirations, and know there is every wish for women in each student class to experience encouragement in their endeavors.
It was gratifying to see the large number of D21s who attended this leadership event, as well as the significant number of D19 and D20 volunteers who helped in the planning and facilitating of table discussions. The event was aspirational and had all the elements for individual enlightenment, skill building and community building!
Grace Kim (D19), who was on the student panel, reflected, “I am thankful for TUSDM to facilitate the Women in Leadership event to encourage, empower, and cultivate female leaders in the community. It was encouraging to see and meet other students who are willing to serve and be leaders in the community. It was empowering to hear about the panelists’ journey through dental school and how they are paving the way for female leadership.”
This past Tuesday, the Women in Leadership Initiative held its annual dinner event to welcome the members of the D21 class. After opening remarks by Dean Thomas and Dean Hanlon, the D19 panel provided both information and inspiration to the attendees. It was a privilege to be in the room as Melody Chou, Nari Park, Zamone Sawyer, and Grace Kim (D19s, pictured left to right) all shared their paths to leadership, as well as obstacles and accomplishments at TUSDM.
After the panel, the first year students and upperclassmen were able to participate in thoughtful, engaging round-table discussions over dinner. Each table reflected on the panel and touched on topics such as the abundance of opportunities available at TUSDM and the ways to balance leadership with other obligations. It was motivating to hear the variety of perspectives shared by all of the students gathered. The night was topped off by a lively time for networking over dessert, allowing one-on-one connections to be made.
Many thanks to Dean Thomas, Dean Hanlon, and Karen Alexander for their support; and to the Women in Leadership committee, Nancy Marks, and Jackie Liu (D19) for putting the event together!
Reflection by: Kristin Bradley (D20)
The TUSDM Dept of Public Health participated on National Nite Out on August 1st. They partnered with the Boston Chinatown community to promote oral health.
Anne Marie Vu (D19) reflects, “This volunteer event was a great way to delve into the Chinatown community. I learned how important knowing different languages is, as only one of our volunteers spoke Cantonese, and she was the most valuable member in terms of communicating with the older Chinese visitors at the events. It was humorous to speak of one of the older ladies at the event, though, as we somehow understood each other as she spoke to me in Chinese and I spoke to her in English. I’m pretty sure we did not catch a single word we were saying, but our body language and expressions were enough to bring out a few laughs. I also learned that elderly Chinese adults are very persistent in obtaining free toothbrushes and toothpaste–for next year, I would like to find a better way to give out the materials, because as much as we tried to pace ourselves, we ran out very quickly. My participation impacted me personally because I saw how vibrant the Chinatown community was and how much we have to offer them, yet how hard it is to connect with the language barrier. I hope we can have more events between our school and this population. Additionally, growing up as an American-Asian, I was reminded of my own family members when I interacted with the community members.”