Public Health is a crucial and necessary movement implemented in communities in order to serve people’s’ wellbeing. There are specific organizations that propose projects to aid the community and its unique circumstances. Communities that lack imperative health care such as proper dental care are in great need of outreach programs that would provide them the necessary oral hygiene care. In order to provide this care, there are global and local outreach programs that target underserved countries or local communities.
Give Kids a Smile is one of many local outreach programs that targets underserved elementary school children that lack proper dental care. When I began volunteering for Give Kids a Smile (GKAS) through the New York County Dental Society, I noticed how essential outreach programs are to a community that lacks one. As I volunteered for this program I began to understand the power and potential that an outreach organization can have on developing youth. Give Kids a Smile allows dentists, dental students, undergraduates, and other health-care workers to volunteer and give back to the community. The purpose is not only to educate future dentists, but also to give proper dental screenings to children from kindergarten to fifth grade. My job as a screening assistant was to bring young children to the dental screeners and record any information the dentist would give me about their teeth condition. I noticed how these children, who were initially apprehensive, began to take interest and realize the importance of having healthy teeth. Thus, GKAS resonated through the elementary schools it visited, and created an impactful image on dental care.
Similarly, I spent one Sunday at the Annual NYU Dental Student Public Health event in order to learn more of how crucial public health is and what are the different types of categories Public Health could fall under. The program was divided into breakout sessions, as well as lectures and discussions with influential and remarkable keynote speakers. From a variety of engaging breakout sessions, I chose to focus on AIDS Awareness and Local/Global Community Outreach. Each session revolved around a specific prompt to focus on, we were also allowed to voice our opinions and/or experiences, and how those experiences and notions helped shape the way we see Public Health. Having an event where different aspects of Public Health are being discussed was influential to how we could keep progressing with Public Health. By discussing the pros, cons, and improvements in each breakout session, we were able to better understand how we could improve the oral care, dental ethics, dental volunteering, and dental compassion.
Dental Public Health is crucial in providing services and compassion to those who are underserved in communities. Whether the programs deal with global outreach programs or local programs in our own communities, Public Health organizations and Public Health schools all show the resonating benefits of coming together to create a better and safer life for another.
Written by: Danielle Golder