Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

This winter, TUSDM’s Dept. of Public Health applied for and received a grant from the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation: America’s ToothFairy® (NCOHF) to run a Healthy Teeth/Healthy Body (HTHB) oral health education program.  Based on the idea that active participation in learning is a key component in the internalization of information leading to behavior change, the project also boasts a Poster Contest for all K-8 graders as a way to deepen their engagement with the material.

Key to the success of the grant was identifying student groups and leaders who would commit to the project.  D16 Student leaders from Smile Squad and the Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD)—Amy Albright, Khusbu Patel, Olga Raptis, Anjalee Shah began meeting with Nancy Marks, Community Service Learning Coordinator and Prof. Kathy Dolan to spear-head the planning efforts and to assemble a broader team of students to make the project a success. 

Last week, the full HTHB project team met for the first time. In addition to the leadership team, students in attendance included: Tracy Tchintchin, D18, and D16s: Sibel Ardit, Will Chao, Mia Harlan, Riley Baldwin, Heidi Kunkel, Monica Hanna.

Will Chao, Dental Central rep for the project summed up the meeting: “On Friday 3/27, members of AAPD, AAPHD, and Smile Squad met to brainstorm ideas for the Healthy Teeth/Healthy Body outreach program planned for elementary and middle school children at Josiah Quincy and other potential sites in Chinatown. Over Chinese food, the volunteers broke into small groups to design lesson plans and games covering the following topics: healthy eating, tooth decay, oral hygiene instruction, and mouth guards/sports.  Laid out were the great activities made by other TUSDM students on the Creative Team—Oral Health Jenga, three different Jeopardy games, and gum/tooth floss dress up game for kindergarteners — created by members of the TUSDM Creative Team. 

Each group then presented their ideas to the whole group, receiving feedback from their peers and project advisors and discussed ways to overcome the challenges of designing an effective and engaging lesson plan for children. There was a lot of great energy in the room.”

If you want to find out more about the project, please contact: Amy Albright, Khusbu Patel, Olga Raptis or Anjalee Shah.

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