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

SWARM TO SERVE: The buzz surrounding an initiative to replenish 18 community libraries and how a TUSDM student is partnering to improve health literacy.

 Written by: Gary Kersey, Jr.
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine ‘20
The youngest and first to co- author a children’s dental book, entitled: “Everyone Smiles”. Member of the Health Literacy Intensive at TUSDM. Community Service Liaison for the Student National Dental Association.

This past Spring Break, I was able to form a partnership with the Charlotte Hornets/NBA and Bank of America on their 2017 Book Drive to replenish 18 libraries within the community. I became aware of the book drive while browsing the Hornets’ website as I am an avid sports fan and always like to keep up with the latest news involving sports teams from my home-state. While on the website, I came across a post regarding a Book Drive which sparked a thought to reach out to a friend who serves as the Manager of Marketing for the Hornets organization.

Through this connection, I was introduced to the Corporate Social Responsibility division. I discussed my book’s relevance to the community relations goals of the Hornets which encompassed highlighting the book’s (1) diversity, (2) multi-age/grade educational features, and  its (3) greater subject/topic of health. The division found my pitch to be a ‘slam-dunk’ and thus a partnership was formed!


The goal is simple:
-to provide access to books
-to improve health literacy within my local community
-to form lasting inter-personal and business relationships in my community

As a dental student, I strive to think meta-professionally and act inter-professionally on innovative ways to improve health. As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that opportunities don’t always land in your lap and sometimes you need to build and create an innovative vision to form a path and make an impact. After productive discussions with the Corporate Social Responsibility division, the Charlotte Hornets organization ultimately added copies of my book “Everyone Smiles” to their book registry. The book features the global diversity and beauty of smiles and serves as an educational step-by-step guide on how to keep teeth clean and healthy. In efforts to reduce health disparities and improve health literacy within the community, “Everyone Smiles” aims to uniquely impact the lives of the children and families that utilize the libraries. Still in the early stages, the Book Drive has collected close to 200 book purchases thus far in efforts to replenish the libraries. More is yet to come.