NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program Provided Free Oral Healthcare To 3,000+ People During 2018-2019 School Year
Seven Outreach Trips to Underserved Communities Around the World Mark a Decade of Henry Schein Cares Supporting NYU Program
More than 3,000 people in four different countries – 2,049 children and 1,076 adults – received free dental care during the 2018-2019 school year, thanks to the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the collaboration between NYU College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry) and Henry Schein Cares, the global corporate social responsibility program of Henry Schein, Inc.
NYU Dentistry’s outreach program provides free dental services to populations facing barriers to oral health, including a lack of local dental providers, economic hardship, and inadequate health insurance coverage. Traveling to communities in interdisciplinary teams of general dentists and dental specialists, NYU Dentistry students receive hands-on clinical instruction and are exposed to public health issues under the guidance of faculty, alumni, local partners, and community leaders.
“The NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program is designed with two goals in mind: delivering and sustaining oral health improvements in host communities and creating exceptional service-learning experiences for our students. Through our outreach, we are fulfilling a critical health need, conducting meaningful public health research, and transforming the way future oral healthcare providers view their roles in society,” said Stuart Hirsch, DDS, vice dean for international initiatives and continuing dental education at NYU Dentistry.
Henry Schein donates the oral health supplies and materials for each outreach program. The teams use these products to provide routine and urgent dental services, including screenings, preventive and restorative treatment for children and adults at no cost to the patient.
“We are pleased to support NYU Dentistry in its efforts to provide care to remote and underserved populations around the world, offer crucial learning opportunities for its students, and build the capacity of local community partners to provide care,” said Henry Schein Chairman and CEO Stanley Bergman. “NYU Dentistry was Henry Schein’s founding partner for the Global Student Outreach Program 10 years ago, and the positive impact our teams have made together speaks to what is possible through public-private partnerships. We thank NYU Dentistry for its work this academic year, and look forward to what we are able to accomplish together in the years ahead.”
Reaching Underserved Communities Near and Far
Barriers to oral health exist both in the United States and abroad. This year, NYU College of Dentistry’s outreach program took teams to three domestic locations (Clinton County and Dutchess County in New York, and Machias, Maine) and four international locations (Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Cuenca, Ecuador; Surkhet, Nepal; and Pokhara, Nepal).
Last fall was the first time NYU Dentistry hosted a week-long clinic in Clinton County in northeast New York, on the border of Canada. Health insurance company United Healthcare recognised that many of its members in the North Country had not seen a dentist in the past year, so partnered with NYU Dentistry to fund a week-long clinic in Plattsburgh. Patients received dental care with no out-of-pocket cost. A team from NYU Dentistry will return in fall 2019.
This also marked the first year that the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program provided care in Cuenca, Ecuador, and Pokhara, Nepal. NYU Dentistry previously conducted outreach programs in Ecuador and Nepal, but returned to new cities based on local needs and partnerships.
For the second year, the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program held a program in Surkhet, a remote village in western Nepal near the border with India. Surkhet is the home of the Kopila Valley School and Children's Home, founded in 2015 by CNN Hero of the Year Maggie Doyne.
NYU dental students, faculty, and community partners in Machias, Maine.
Building Sustainable Models of Care
As part of its outreach efforts, the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program works to implement sustainable oral health prevention, including identifying and training local members of the community who can continue efforts on an ongoing basis. For instance, in Cambodia, NYU Dentistry partners with University of Puthisastra’s Faculty of Dentistry, which is already successfully implementing oral health education, screening, and preventive care such as sealants and silver diamine fluoride (SDF). During the November 2018 outreach, NYU Dentistry helped with urgent dental treatment needs such as restorations, extractions, and root canals.
In addition, NYU Dentistry has started to transition out of providing clinical care in Kathmandu, Nepal, empowering local partners to take ownership of the program through classroom toothbrushing and referring children to a local dental college as a permanent dental home.
“We have been coming to Kathmandu since 2013, and have measured a marked improvement in the children’s oral health,” said Hirsch. “It is time for the sustainability to be entirely in the community's control in the coming years.”
Transforming Future Dental Professionals
Each year, nearly 200 NYU dental, dental hygiene, and postgraduate students participate in outreach programs. These intensive, community-based clinical experiences give students hands-on training and one-on-one clinical instruction from supervising faculty.
But beyond learning the skills to maintain healthy smiles, students also describe having transformative experiences, rethinking their roles as future health care providers and gaining a deeper understanding of barriers to healthcare in different settings.
“I have had the opportunity of entering communities and learning about the daily challenges others face that I simply take for granted. Lack of nutritious foods, access to a dental clinic, fluoridated water, and ability to afford toothpaste are just some of the obstacles people endure, keeping them from better oral health and a full smile,” reflected Ms. Nicole Haydt, who as a dental student traveled to Cambodia and Nepal with the NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Global Student Outreach Program.
“Serving globally has allowed me to visualise a greater purpose for how I want to live my life, and work with a team to provide care for those most in need," added Ms. Haydt, who graduated from NYU Dentistry in May.
“The cultures and communities in which we served are varied and complex, as are the reasons why those who need dental care the most aren't receiving it,” said Ms. Catherine Lee, who participated in outreach trips to Ecuador and Maine as a dental student and also graduated in May from NYU Dentistry. “My dental global public health training at NYU has profoundly impacted how I think about my career in dentistry and has strengthened my sense of responsibility not only locally, but also to the global community.”
For the 2019-2020 school year, NYU Dentistry will send teams to Clinton County, NY; Pokhara and Surkhet, Nepal; Cuenca, Ecuador; and Machias, Maine. Other sites under consideration include Hudson, Windham, and Malone, NY; and Cape Town, South Africa.