The American Dental Hygienists Association is recognizing SUNY Canton’s dental hygiene program for its extensive work in the community for the third consecutive year.
The College’s program, which is located at SUNY Canton’s distant campus in Rome, N.Y., will receive the 2010 American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) Student Member Community Service Award. SUNY Canton is one of just three recipients nationwide to receive the award which will be presented in Las Vegas on June 25 and 26.
The students were selected as a result of several community outreach projects over the past two semesters. They worked with the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Center and the Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, both located in Rome, N.Y., as well as with Aspen Dental and Hillside Services in Onondaga County.
“Community health is the core of the dental hygiene profession,” said SUNY Canton’s Dental Hygiene Curriculum Coordinator Pamela P. Quinn. “Our faculty embraces public health and encourages activities that will instill that value in our graduates. We hope our students will continue to participate in community health projects after they graduate.”
In February, the students celebrated Dental Health Month by spending a Saturday in Syracuse exposing radiographs, providing cleanings, and applying fluoride varnish to high risk teens attending Hillside Services. For some, this was their first visit to a dental professional.
The program also spearheaded a three-month project with three preschool classrooms at the Upstate Cerebral Palsy Center and five Headstart classrooms in Rome throughout the spring. Nearly 140 children benefited from the project, learning the importance of good oral hygiene. The students used rotary toothbrushes to reinforce good brushing habits and visited the classrooms to monitor progress over the course of several weeks.
The classroom teachers at both facilities organized a field trip to the SUNY Canton Dental Hygiene Clinic. During the visit, the children received a dental screening and an application of fluoride varnish which helps reduce the risk of long-term dental problems.
As a culmination activity, the College’s dental hygiene students developed table clinics and hosted a mini health fair at each location.
“Access to dental care is a growing concern in today’s society,” Quinn said. “Through this project, the hygiene students offered their services to a population with unmet dental needs, and the children and teens from these agencies not only received free preventive dental care but also became more comfortable interacting with oral health care professionals. It was a win-win situation for all involved parties.”
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