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Dr. Poonam Jain

The Community and Preventive Dentistry Program

Director, Dr. Poonam Jain

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:


Madison County Oral Health Education Program

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.

Madison County Teacher Survey

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Oral screenings and oral health education in the community

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.

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Special Needs Patient Care

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.

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Geriatric Dentistry

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.

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SIU SDM Celebrated National Children's Dental Heath Month in 2013
National Children's Dental Health Month

The SIU School of Dental Medicine once again celebrated National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) in February.  The SIU SDM Community and Preventive Dentistry Program invited local elementary schools to send children to the Alton Campus for free oral exams, as well as a fun, interactive oral health education program. 

Traditionally, elementary school students from Kindergarten through Second Grade are invited to participate.  New this year, the NCDHM program was expanded to include students in the Fifth Grade.  The Fifth Graders clearly enjoyed the experience and presented our dental students with the challenge of adjusting the oral health education program to meet the intellect of the older and wiser elementary school students.

The elementary schools that participated in our NCDHM program this year were Lovejoy Elementary from Alton, West Elementary School from Alton, South Roxana Elementary School from South Roxana, and Central Elementary from Roxana. 

All of our Year III and Year IV dental students were involved with the NCDHM program this year.  We had a total of 488 children visit the SIU School of Dental Medicine during the one-month program.  All of the children that brought signed parental consent forms received a free oral exam, conducted by our students under faculty supervision.  Our dental students screened 331 elementary school children.

The elementary school children enjoyed five interactive, hands-on learning centers, hosted by SIU SDM dental students.  The learning centers focused on oral-systemic connections, appropriate dietary and beverage choices and oral hygiene. 

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.

2013 National Children’s Dental Health Month Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 

Photo Caption 1: Andrew Callahan prepares for a dental screening of a Fifth Grade Student from West Elementary in Alton.

Photo Caption 2: Kristi Golabek and Jacques Dupré share oral hygiene tips with a small group of First Grade Students from Lovejoy Elementary in Alton.

Photo Caption 3: Nicholas Doll explains "Mouth to Body Connections" with a curious crew of First Grade Students from Lovejoy Elementary in Alton.

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Give Kids a Smile-2012

SIU SDM Give Kids A Smile Day a Huge Success!

2012 Give Kids A Smile DayOn 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.

2012 Give Kids A Smile Day Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Photo Caption 1: John Cairns, a Year I dental student, gives a young child a smile at the face painting table at the Smile Station.

Photo Caption 2: Lindsey Reinhardt, a Year IV dental student, shares an extra moment with a young patient in the clinic.

Photo Caption 3: State Senator William Haine took some time to visit the SIU SDM Give Kids A Smile Day and was pleased to pose with the Tooth Fairy, known on campus as Everett Brokaw, a Year I dental student.

Photo Caption 4: Jessica Rhodes, a Year IV dental student, provides dental care for a young patient.

Photo Caption 5: The Tooth Fairy (Kimberly Baptist, a Year I dental student) gave many kids a reason to smile during Give Kids A Smile Day at SIU SDM. She is joined here by Dr. Poonam Jain, Director of Community Dentistry and Ms. Sherrie Gottlob, an Office Support Associate for Community Dentistry-two individuals who were largely responsible for the organization of the annual community dentistry event.

Photo Caption 6: Dr. William Koentz, an SIU SDM Class of 1983 graduate, joined several alumni who returned to campus to volunteer for the 2012 Give Kids A Smile Day.

Photo Caption 7: Kasey Kirchner, a Year I dental student, has fun with a young contestant, challenging the "Circle of Smiles," a spinning wheel that offered oral health education and fun, at the Smile Station.

Photo Caption 8: Dr. Bruce Rotter, Interim Dean of the SIU School of Dental Medicine, offered State Representative Dan Beiser a tour during Give Kids A Smile Day. Along the tour, they pause to observe Kellen Bosma, a Year IV dental student, and Leah Rippy, a Year III dental student, providing dental care.

Additional Photos on flickr

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SIUCARES Program


(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.

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Dentists for a Day

2012 Dentists for a Day 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.

2012 Dentists for a Day Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Photo Caption 1: Rima Mounsef, Year IV dental student, enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer and assist during the "Dentists for a Day" program.

Photo Caption 2: Brandon Dreier, Year IV dental student, poses with an Upward Bound student, who proudly displays her completed dental impression.

Photo Caption 3: Robyn Hofelich, Year IV dental student, lends a hand (a pair of hands) to an Upward Bound student.

Photo Caption 4: Kristi Golabek, Year IV dental student, offers some instruction on diet and nutrition to the Upward Bound students.

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