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NYU Dentistry/Henry Schein Cares Global Student Outreach Program Provided Free Oral Health care to 3,000+ People During 2018-2019 School Year

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 ScheinCares Global Student Outreach 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 ScheinCares 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.

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.

Reaching Underserved Communities Near and Far

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 recognized 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.

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.

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 health care in different settings.

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. 

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