The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine, Section of Community and Preventive Dentistry is engaged in educating our students in prevention and oral health promotion, special needs patient care and geriatric dentistry.
The following represents a few of the highlights from the annual Community and Preventive Dentistry calendar:
Our students are actively engaged in outreach activities including providing oral health promotion at elementary, middle and high schools in Madison County. As part of the Clinical Community Dentistry course, Year III and IV students work in teams, which generally consist of 2 students. Each team is assigned to classes at a Madison County elementary school, middle school and high school. Student teams conduct a needs assessment at each school, after meeting with school administrators and the school nurse. They then make age-appropriate oral health presentations to each class in elementary and middle schools twice per semester and to high school classes once per semester.
As the dental students graduate from year III to year IV, they move with the public school students; i.e., if they were assigned to grade 3 in their Year III, they move to grade 4 in their year IV. At the end of year IV, students write a service-learning paper describing their experiences at public schools and the impact they have made on the students.
This program is currently in its 3rd year. Last year, the program was supported by a grant from the Daughters of Charity Foundation.
Another component of the Clinical Community Dentistry program involves student participation in oral screenings and oral health education in our community. Year III and Year IV students actively participate in local health fairs and provide oral cancer screenings at various venues, including sites in East St. Louis and Senior Services Plus locations. Students make oral health presentations to mothers in a local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, parents of kids in the Riverbend Head Start Program, and provide screenings and education to the children at the Madison County Youth Detention Home.
Year III students get didactic instruction and clinical experience in special needs patient management and/or care. Each student’s clinical experience consists of rotations through our Special needs Clinic and another off-site experience. We provide screenings at the William Bedell Centers for children and adults every year. We also provide screenings for the athletes at the Area 12 Special Olympics games in Edwardsville every year. In addition, our students work at a residential facility for people with developmental disabilities- Beverly Farms, under Dr. Scott Wolter’s supervision.
Year IV students receive didactic instruction and clinical experience in managing elderly patients living independently in the community as well as those in assisted living institutions or nursing homes. Our students provide annual screenings for the residents of our local nursing home- Eunice Smith. Each student also provides in-service training to our local nursing home staff and a presentation on a relevant topic to elderly people in our community.
NCDHM Duly Recognized at SIU SDM
Each year during the National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) of February, Alton area elementary school children are invited to take a fun-filled, yet educational field trip to the Main Clinic on the Alton Campus of the SIU School of Dental Medicine.
This year during NCDHM, Dr. Poonam Jain, Director of Community and Preventive Dentistry at the SIU School of Dental Medicine, worked with three local elementary schools and hosted seven field trips. Each field trip was led by a team of dental students.
The field trips provided an enjoyable and informative experience for 300 children from 16 kindergarten through second grade classes. During the course of the month, 91 dental students participated in the NCDHM program, offering oral health screenings in the clinic and facilitating interactive learning centers in the classroom.
All of the children that brought signed parental consent forms received a free oral health screening. Almost all of the 300 children received the screenings this year.
The school children also had the opportunity to experience four interactive, hands-on learning centers. The learning centers focused on oral-systemic connections, appropriate dietary and beverage choices and oral hygiene. From each learning center, each child received a “take-home” message.
At the end of each session, all participating children received an oral health kit. Also, each participating teacher received a set of educational resources for follow up oral health instruction.
Elementary school children from Lovejoy Elementary in Alton, Central Elementary in Roxana, and South Roxana Elementary participated in our NCDHM program this year.
SIU SDM Give Kids A Smile Day a Huge Success!
On October 8, 2012, the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine hosted our annual Give Kids A Smile Day. The one-day community event was tremendously successful this year. The SIU SDM faculty, staff, and students, in cooperation with a host of volunteer dental professionals and kindhearted individuals, offered much needed dental care for 188 kids.
“Our Seventh Annual Give Kids A Smile Day was a huge success,” said Dr. Poonam Jain, Director of Community and Preventive Dentistry and the Chair of the Give Kids A Smile Day event at the SIU School of Dental Medicine. “We genuinely appreciate all the hard work and enthusiasm of all the volunteers, as well as the commitment and dedication of all the faculty, staff and students.”
“Without the participation of so many caring individuals, it would be impossible for us to host this event and render much needed dental treatment, preventive services and education to local children every year.”
The range of preventive, restorative and surgical care provided for the children during the SIU SDM Give Kids A Smile Day included examinations, X-rays, cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, fillings, crowns and extractions. The 188 children served during the 2012 Give Kids A Smile Day received free comprehensive dental care, valued at nearly $75,000.
Due in part to several years of severely inclement weather in February, which adversely affected the SIU SDM Give Kids a Smile Day in the past, SIU SDM decided to host the 2012 Give Kids A Smile Day in October. With dual goals to offer convenience to parents and to avoid a curricular conflict with local elementary and middle schools, the event was held on Columbus Day—a public school holiday in Illinois.
Also new this year, the “Smile Station” was hosted by our Year I students in the Gymnasium on the Alton Campus. The oral health education related to diet and nutrition, oral-systemic connections and oral hygiene was appreciated. The kids also enjoyed the face painting, coloring station and balloon animals. The live music provided by our students also helped ease the anxiety felt by the kids and parents as they waited for dental treatment.
Much of the success of the day must also be credited to the private practitioners from the Madison and St. Clair District Dental Societies who gave up their Monday and volunteered to provide treatment for local kids who needed dental attention. Many additional volunteers were associated with the Lewis and Clark Community College Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting Programs; the Missouri College Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting Programs; the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Pre-Dental Association; the Zonta Club of Alton-Wood River, IL.
Recognizing that one of the goals of Give Kids A Smile Day is to highlight for policy makers the ongoing challenges that disadvantaged families face in finding dental care, several local lawmakers were invited to the SIU SDM Give Kids A Smile Day. State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-East Alton) State Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) were in attendance again this year.
Additional Photos on flickr
(Sponsored by the Illinois Children's Healthcare Foundation)
The goal of the SIUCARES program is to prepare dentists to provide care for children in the underserved areas of southern Illinois through two parallel initiatives. First, by modifying our admissions process and our dental education curriculum, we have created the SIUCARES “Rural Scholars Program,” which identifies, recruits and trains a specific subset of our dental students with a goal of developing dental professionals interested in caring for underserved children. Second, with significant revisions to our dental education curriculum, we have created the SIUCARES “Core Program,” which has significantly expanded and enriched our current dental education program through an increase in community and pediatric dentistry course hours and community clinic rotations for all dental students. Both SIUCARES programs are facilitated through partnerships with community-based dental clinics that provide oral health care to underserved Illinois children. In sum, SIUCARES aims to increase in number and diversity the pool of dental graduates who are prepared and empowered to practice in rural settings and provide care to underserved children.
On October 19, 2012, the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and the Upward Bound Math and Science Center from East St. Louis collaborated on a program called “Dentists for a Day.” The program included oral health education, nutritional information and career counseling for the youth of the Upward Bound program by the students of the School of Dental Medicine.
“The students from the Upward Bound Program are truly the ‘cream of the crop’ and have the potential to succeed in college and professional careers, given the right opportunities and guidance,” said Dr. Poonam Jain, Director of Community and Preventive Dentistry at the SIU School of Dental Medicine.
The primary objective of the Dentists for a Day program is to help to address the access to dental care issue in underserved communities, such as the East St. Louis community. The program proposes to encourage the Upward Bound Math and Science participants to pursue a career in a health-related field and serve the community in which they were raised.
The young “Dentists for a Day” learned what dentistry is all about; what the educational requirements are to become a dentist; and the need for more dentists to serve underserved communities in our area. The program also included hands-on, educational activities related to oral-systemic connections, diet and nutrition, oral hygiene and oral health in general.
For many of the Upward Bound students, the highlight of day was when they had the opportunity to pour alginate impressions of Dentoform models. Each of the 23 Upward Bound students was paired with a Year IV dental student for the activity.
Later the dental students shared lunch with the aspiring “Dentists for a Day.” The dental students also talked to the Upward Bound students, one on one, about dentistry and life as a dental student.
“The dental students were excellent role models and influenced the kids in a very positive way,” said Dr. Jain
Each group of Upward Bound students also received a campus tour, offering a little history of the campus and the area. The tour offered a fun way to wrap up a successful day.