U of IL Dentistry Students Honored in Public Health Dentistry

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry students Laura Douglas and Somayeh Jahedi were honored by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry.
By: UIC College of Dentistry
The University of Illinois at Chicago.
The University of Illinois at Chicago.
CHICAGO - June 26, 2015 - PRLog -- An abstract entry by University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry students Laura Douglas and Somayeh Jahedi, “Achieving Optimal Oral Health for Special Needs Individuals in Chicago,” was awarded Honorable Mention in the Predoctoral Dental Student Merit Award category for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dentistry by the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD).

         They were recognized and presented with their award during the AAPHD Special Merit and Student Awards Presentation at the National Oral Health Conference (NOHC) on April 27 in Kansas City, MO. Douglas and Jahedi presented at the General Poster Session.

         Both Douglas and Jahedi wereAlbert Schweitzer Fellows, and their abstract was based on their Schweitzer Fellowship projects. Schweitzer Fellows develop and direct service projects that address the causes of health disparities in underserved communities.

         Douglas’s project culminated in her holding a Special Smiles Day at Arts of Life Studio, which provides an artistic outlet for people with and without disabilities. It is located at 2010 W. Carroll Ave. in Chicago.

         Douglas, five other dental students, and Douglas’s mentors, Dr. Robert Rada, Clinical Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, and Dr. Larry Salzmann, Clinical Professor and Predoctoral Program Clinic Director, Pediatric Dentistry, volunteered at the March 3 event.

         “My mentors oversaw the screening process and answered any questions that arose,” Douglas explained. “Three of the volunteers covered the oral hygiene presentation, while the other volunteers handled the screenings and prophylaxis. My tasks were to make sure everyone knew what was going on and everyone had the supplies and forms they needed.”

         Presenters covered proper brushing and flossing techniques, nutrition for healthy teeth, the dangers of smoking, the progression of a cavity, and denture care, and fielded questions from the artists. Approximately 15 artists and staff members of the studio participated.

         Dr. Rada provided a portable dental chair for the patients, a mobile unit for the prophylaxis, and dental supplies.

         “The artists were very appreciative of the expressed interest in their work and asked repeatedly when we would return,” Douglas said. “I am truly grateful for Dr. Rada and Dr. Salzmann volunteering their time away from their own careers to help me hold this event, and to all of the volunteers who took time away from the clinic to participate.

         “I know that it takes a lot of commitment and effort on everyone’s part and I am so humbled by everyone’s support,” Douglas continued. “All of those involved, including the artists and volunteers, had a great time and benefited, which makes it all worthwhile.”

         For her project, Jahedi worked with special needs individuals at the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education-Roosevelt (ICRE-R) at 1950 W. Roosevelt Rd.

         With approximately 40 students on site ages 16 to 21, “ICRE-R is a residential school with a mission to prepare young people with severe physical disabilities for a successful adult life through a comprehensive program of education and training,” Jahedi explained.

         To address the dental health concerns of the ICRE-R students, in addition to providing dental students with training regarding special needs patients, Jahedi developed several objectives: Provide optimal oral hygiene methods for the special needs population and their caregivers; increase awareness and volunteerism among dental students and dental professionals regarding special needs patients; and provide dental services to ICRE-R students to address their dental needs.

         Jahedi developed a lesson plan from resources recommended to her by Dr. Rada. “He has proven to be instrumental in guiding me in the right direction,” she said.

         “I brought the dental student volunteers up-to-date with the lesson plan, demonstrating the modified oral hygiene techniques tailored to special needs individuals,” she explained. “We ordered modified Surround toothbrushes and open-wide mouth props through the special needs grant committee, which we distributed to all the ICRE-R students and caregivers. Feedback from the caregivers included that these were extremely helpful in providing oral hygiene to the ICRE-R students.”

Jahedi obtained approval from the State of Illinois for a UIC and ICRE-R affiliation agreement, which allowed UIC College of dentistry students to provide dental services for ICRE-R students. As a result, the College’s Give Kids a Smile committee decided to host GKAS Day at ICRE-R in 2014.

         Jahedi, Dr. Rada, and Dr. Sahar Alrayyes, Assistant Professor and Predoctoral Clinic Director, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, also hosted Lunch and Learns at the UIC College of Dentistry for interested dental student volunteers concerning special needs patients.

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Tags:Special Needs, Arts, Health, Healthcare, Dentistry
Industry:Arts, Education
Location:Chicago - Illinois - United States
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